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Will AJP join govt? Lurinjyoti Gogoi leaves people guessing

GUWAHATI: Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) president Lurinjyoti Gogoi today left the people guessing till a new government is formed in Assam regarding its possible coalition with any of the two major fronts, but maintained that new regional parties would certainly spring a surprise on the Assam assembly election counting day on May 2.

He banked on the 40 per cent share of silent voters to make the claim, and dismissed the predictions of exit polls.

“Come May 2, it will be found that the people’s mandate was in favour of regional parties, including us. As you’ve seen in the Bihar polls, the exit polls predictions come out wrong. It’s because exit polls are based on the 60 per cent of voters who are active in political activities. The remaining 40 per cent are often not assessed. It’s this 40 per cent of silent voters in Assam who have realised the fact that the state is under a huge political threat. I am sure, this 40 per cent has sided with the regional forces to save the state,” Gogoi said here today.

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He, however, refrained from making any statement on the number of seats the AJP could win. “We have never commented on how many seats are we going to win. You will know it on May 2. We believe in people’s mandate. We do not want to make any arrogant claims.”

Asked repeatedly which national party’s coalition would the AJP prefer to join if they have to after the counting, Gogoi said: “The time is yet to come up for discussion. But, we are a very uncompromising party. People of Assam are our first priority. The future of Assam is our priority. We will make a decision accordingly.”

High on anti-CAA sentiment, Gogoi parted ways with All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) to form AJP to fill the void of regional essence in Assam. Though the Congress wanted to include AJP and Raijor Dal in their Mahajath, the two newly floated parties showed reluctance to it. They even exuded confidence in forming their own government in Assam.

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But as the election passed, the current tally is completely against AJP’s dream, but any of the major political parties, Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress, might need the regional parties’ help to achieve a majority in the house.

Asked if horse-trading efforts were being made to woo AJP candidates, party general secretary Jagadish Bhuyan said: “Efforts will certainly be made. But, we are uncompromising as far as the interest of Assam is concerned. And, we have immense trust in our candidates that they will not take any step against the wishes of the people.”

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