The Prafulla Kumar Mahanta-led AGP which came to power in Assam in the 1980s on Thursday returned to the corridor of power.
It was against the backdrop of agitation against illegal migrants that the party came to be a prominent player in Assam politics. However, due to internal bickerings and divisions, it was decimated by the Congress in the 2001 Assembly elections. Since then, the party has been on a tailspin, going down with every election.
However, the party came back with an impressive show in this election after stricking an alliance with the BJP, signalling the revival of the regional party and its brand of Assamese nationalist politics.
The party got a new lease of life with an alliance with the BJP, with many of its candidates who had lost successive elections, on Thursday coming out victorious, some of them even emerging giant killers.
The party, plagued with leadership crisis, lack of funds, low morale of its supporters and sustained splits, has won 14 of the 24 seats it contested. It has been able to get 8.2% of the vote share. In the 2011 Assembly polls, AGP had contested 104 seats and won only 10.
New party president Atul Bora took charge and got his act together with BJP’s poll manager Himanta Biswa Sarma. He overcame strong opposition from the old guard in the party led by Mahanta, to form a pre-poll alliance with the BJP.
The deal has paid off. All senior AGP leaders, including Mahanta, have won their respective seats. “We were sure the people of Assam will repose faith in the AGP-BJP alliance and we were able to galvanise indigenous and nationalist votes,” Bora, who won from Bokakhat, told DH.
Though Bora has ruled out any conflict with the BJP on the chief ministerial candidate, Mahanta, a few days ago, clearly hinted that the BJP will have to discuss with the AGP and BPF and other allies.