Gogoi up for realignment of political forces to fight BJP

Guwahati: With Assembly polls only a few months away, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi favours a realignemnt of political forces, including the AIUDF, to fight the BJP on a single platform.

Cautious about the difficult possibility of bringing the parties like CPI, CPI-M, AIUDF and Bodoland People’s Front together, he says it should not be viewed as a poll alliance but a grouping of forces joining hands to tackle communalism.

“There is no such possibility (of an alliance) but I appeal to all political forces like the CPI, CPI-M, BPF and even the AIUDF to join hands against divisive forces trying to create trouble in the country,” Gogoi told PTI interview.

BJP had emerged the largest winner in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections winning 7 seats out of 14 in Assam. AIUDF, led by perfume baron Badaruddin Azmal, which espouses the causes of mainly Muslim minorities, won two seats in lower Assam and one seat in Barak valley in the last year’s Lok Sabha elections.

“This should not be viewed as a poll alliance but is aimed at tackling communalism which is destroying the secular fabric of the country,” he said.

Gogoi, however, said such a possibility is “very thin” but he will continue to try to bring all forces against communalism together.

In 2011 Assembly polls, Congress won 68 seats out of the 126 constituencies while AIUDF bagged 18 seats. BJP won 15 seats, BPF bagged 12 and AGP got 10, TMC one and Independent two.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Congress won 3 seats while one won by an Independent.

Gogoi said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “fast losing his popularity” and the BJP has ‘bleak prospects’ in the state assembly polls scheduled next year.

“Modi’s popularity is fast waning and the results of assembly elections in different states even during the party’s honeymoon period is (going to be) an indication that people are losing their faith in him,” he said.

Gogoi said the “aggressive manner” in which Modi campaigned in Bihar clearly indicates that the party is facing tough time and is not at all confident about its prospects even though they are in power at the Centre and had won huge mandate in the last Lok Sabha polls in the state,” he said.

Besides, it had lost in Uttarakhand and had failed to get a majority in Maharashtra.

In Assam, the BJP has very “bleak prospects as it has no base and there is no credible leader,” he said.

“BJP is importing leaders from all other parties like the Congress, AGP, student organisations like the AASU and even militants having NIA cases pending against them have joined hands with them,” he said.

The Congress prospects were “very good” and he was sure the party would form the next government after the assembly polls scheduled next year, Gogoi said.

Gogoi alleged that contrary to BJP government’s claim of ushering in development, the situation in the North East has deteriorated.

“There is no cooperation by the BJP government though Modi and his Ministers are good to me and continue to give me assurances but they do nothing,” he said.

The BJP government at the Centre has withdrawn the special category status to the North Eastern states and has not even “released the funds due to us”.

“Leave alone additional funds required for the development of the state, they are not giving what is due to us. As a result, development of the region has received a setback,” he said.

Non-release of adequate funds has ultimately resulted in lack of employment opportunities for the youths which will in the long run affect the socio-economic development of the state, he said.

The Centre has also withheld various incentives due to the region and as a result it has become “difficult to attract investors to the region”.

The Modi government has made a “U-turn” on all the pre-poll promises like bringing back black money to the country, land deal with Bangladesh and construction of dam on the Subansiri, he said.

“They are good to me personally but I want result. I do not want anything personally but what I want them to be good to the people of Assam and work in their interest,” Gogoi added.