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Failed to put up united oppn candidates due to national politics: Assam Cong chief

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Bhupen Kumar Borah

Assam Congress chief Bhupen Kumar Borah (File image)

Guwahati: Assam Congress president Bhupen Kumar Borah has asserted that the opposition parties' attempt to contest the Lok Sabha polls unitedly in the state fell apart "due to national politics".

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He claimed that the AAP contesting separately in the state would be its "biggest blunder", while the TMC's refusal to concede any constituency to the Congress in West Bengal "impacted the alliance adversely" in the northeastern state.

"We had formed the United Opposition Forum, Assam (UOFA) eight months before the INDIA bloc was constituted. Ours is a 16-party forum and out of these, three are contesting the Lok Sabha polls directly. But it is not due to my leadership or politics in the state, but due to national politics," Borah said in an interview with PTI.

Of the total 14 seats in the state, the Congress is contesting 13, leaving one for the UOFA member Assam Jaitya Parishad (AJP).

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The other UOFA constituents, which have put up candidates in the state, are the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the CPI(M).

Borah pointed out that the AAP and the Congress have a seat-sharing arrangement in Delhi, but are fighting in all seats separately in Punjab.

"The AAP had announced candidates for three seats in Assam, but fortunately they withdrew their nominee from Guwahati. I had requested (AAP state president) Bhabesh Choudhury that they should not contest alone and we were ready to give them one seat, but they insisted on three." "I think this will be the biggest political blunder for AAP as after results, it will be proved that they are nobody in the state," the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) chief claimed.

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Speaking about the TMC fielding candidates in Assam, Borah maintained that it is a "regional party based in West Bengal" and there is no alliance with the Congress in the neighbouring state".

"If they are not ready to give a single seat in their stronghold, how can I, as the state president of Assam, sit with the TMC president here and give them seats? The starting point is West Bengal and not Assam with them," he said.

As far as the CPI(M) is concerned, the Left party is fighting against the Congress in Kerala and has fielded a candidate in Assam, he said.

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"Although these three parties are not in the same view in the state, all are part of the opposition bloc INDIA against the BJP. I have also decided that I will not speak a single word against these parties," Borah added.

Assam will go to polls in three phases on April 19, 26 and May 7.

The Congress has three MPs in the outgoing Lok Sabha, while the other UOFA members don't have any representation from the state.

The ruling BJP has nine MPs from Assam, while one each is held by AIUDF and an Independent.

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