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AGP denies 'joining' the NDA

Source: PTI
March 05, 2009 19:45 IST
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Soon after the Bharatiya Janata Party declared on Thursday that Asom Gana Parishad has joined the National Democratic Alliance and announced a seat-sharing pact between them in Assam, the regional party's chief denied joining the alliance saying the relationship is confined to sharing of seats only.

Earlier, BJP's leader L K Advani, flanked by AGP chief Chandra Mohan Patowary and NDA chairman Sharad Yadav, said, "We have not been able to convert the polity into a two-party system but have ended the single party rule of four decades. The AGP's joining the NDA would go a long way in stopping further fragmentation of our polity."

Patowary, however, denied that the regional party has joined the NDA and termed the pact as mere seat sharing arrangement.

"We are not a part of the NDA. But we will fight elections together to defeat the United Progressive Alliance. It is only a seat sharing arrangement with the BJP," Patowary told PTI.

Patowary also made it clear that both the parties would have separate manifestos. According to the pact, the BJP will field eight candidates in Guwahati, Nagaon, Mangaldoi, Silchar, Karimganj, Jorhat, Dhubri and Diphu constituencies while the AGP will contest in six seats -- Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur, Tezpur, Kaliabor, Barpeta and Kokrajhar.

Patowary prompted BJP President Rajnath Singh to say that though the saffron would be the major partner for the Lok Sabha elections, the AGP would be the "senior partner" for the assembly polls to be held in 2011.

When asked if the AGP had formally joined the NDA, Rajnath said, "Of course, they are now part of NDA".

AGP had joined hands with BJP before the 2001 assembly elections in Assam but parted ways after a defeat in the hands of Congress.

"We believe that the NDA can usher in a change, as Assam's problems have been long ignored by the Congress and the UPA. We hope that there will be an end to the Congress as we want to see L K Advani as our next prime minister," Patowary said.

Patowary highlighted that Assam, which is surrounded by foreign countries is fast becoming a transit point for jehadis and extremists and becoming a threat to the sovereignty of the country.

Advani said the NDA had been "successful" in breaking the four-decade long rule of the Congress in Assam and establishing a "bipolar polity".

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