The BJP top brass has seemingly bungled in clinching a last-minute tie-up with the increasingly unpopular Asom Gana Parishad (agp). Formalised exactly a month before the polling date, it has already run into trouble with a large section of the state BJP opposing it for fear of being swept aside by the anti-incumbency wave that the agp is facing. The winner in this situation could well be the Congress.
While central BJP leaders have decided to go with the agp led by chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, several district units of the bjp have quit in disgust. The rebels felt that the BJP stood a better chance in the polls if it went alone. They point out that the BJP voteshare had increased from a mere 1.07 per cent in 1985 to 30.56 per cent in 1996 although its seat share has never gone beyond 10 in a house of 126. A section of the BJP state leadership— with the controversial former dig, Hiranya Bhattacharyya, in the lead—has dubbed the agp-BJP pact as a sellout and has quit. They have also fielded nearly 60 rebel candidates in BJP strongholds.