Rival Leaders Will Join BJP Before Election Next Year: Assam Minister

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BJP’s Himanta Biswa Sarma said leaders from rival parties may join BJP before the election next year

Guwahati:

Ahead of the assembly election in Assam next year, the BJP is likely to see several top leaders from rival camps and friendly alliances join the party. The BJP is looking to take in two key leaders from its ally, the Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF). Some Congress leaders and MLAs are also in talks for a switch, Assam minister and BJP’s strategist for the north-east Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

Mr Sarma said while the BJP will fight alone and against its ally BPF in the upcoming Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) election, the party would not like to extend its alliance with BPF in Assam, but the final call will be taken by the party’s central leadership.

The two-phase BTC election is scheduled on December 7 and 10; counting is on 12.

In the 2016 assembly election, the BJP scripted history my forming the first BJP-led government in Assam with BPF as a key ally.

“In run up to the polls, people change their political positions, and there are a few good leaders still left in the Congress in Assam. I have invited them to join the BJP. I am in touch with many of them so they may join BJP. Some might eventually not join as well, but talks are on,” Mr Sarma said.

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Rajya Sabha MP from BPF Biswajit Daimari and their senior leader Emmanuel Mushahary will join the BJP on November 22. Congress MLA Rajdepe Gowala will join the BJP by next month and a few could be waiting to switch.

“A lot of leaders from other parties want to join, but the situation is not like in 2016. Now even if they join we cannot assure all that they will get nominations,” Mr Sarma said. “We entered into an alliance with BPF in 2016 and we committed to it for five years, so after completion of five years, our state BJP unit is of the view that we should not continue the alliance. That’s why we are fighting the BTC election independently this time. We are not breaking the alliance now, we will complete the five-year commitment but whether we will renew the alliance is under question,” Mr Sarma said.

“The state unit is of the opinion that while we want to renew our alliance with AGP, we don’t want to renew our alliance with BPF. On the assembly election this call will be taken by the central leadership,” Mr Sarma said.

These alliances were made on the basis of a certain backdrop. “After the BTR accord, Bodoland politics has changed, so you will see that good leaders of BPF will join BJP. We will have to fight on our own, and this is also keeping in mind our target for assembly polls to win 100 of the 126 seats of our own,” Mr Sarma said.

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