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AGP announces list of LS poll candidates

By K Anurag in Guwahati
March 09, 2009 18:06 IST
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The Asom Gana Parishad on Monday announced the names of its candidates for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls and vowed to give a tough challenge to the ruling Congress in the state.

Announcing the name of the party candidates, AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary said, "An united AGP armed with a seat sharing arrangement with the Bharatiya Janata Party will form a formidable force against the Congress, which is already jittery over our tie up with the BJP, given that the ruling party has been making pot shots at the AGP-BJP combine at the slightest opportunity."

"The Congress has become so scared that within last 24 hours; not less than four press conferences were held by the ruling party, to target us. What is their problem if we have joined hands with the BJP," said Patowary.

The AGP will contest in six parliamentary seats in the state, leaving the remaining eight seats to its ally BJP. The AGP has fielded Sabdaram Rabha from Kokrajhar, Bhupen Rai from Barpeta, Joseph Toppo from Tezpur, Gunin Hazarika from Koliabor, sitting MPs Dr Arun Sarma from Lakhimpur and Sarbananda Sonowal from Dibrugarh.

"The Congress is no longer a formidable force in Assam. They have come to power twice since the birth of the AGP because of division in the AGP camp. This time we are united and hence they are terrified," claimed Patowary.

Patowary clarified that they were entering a seat-sharing agreement with the BJP but not  an alliance. "We were not a part of the NDA. This is just a seat sharing arrangement," he said, adding that both parties will campaign jointly.

Within hours of the AGP announcing the names of its poll candidates, the ruling Congress scathingly stated that the regional party had once against shown its 'chauvinistic attitude', by not naming a single tribal or woman in their list of candidates.

Congress spokesman Himanta Bishwa Sharma asserted that notwithstanding the seat-sharing arrangement between the AGP and the BJP, the Congress would win at least 13 out of the 4 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

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K Anurag in Guwahati