The BJP had fielded 18 MPs - seven each in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and four in Chhattisgarh - to contest assembly elections.
The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), a key ally of the ruling BJP, is flexing its muscle with the aim of contesting a larger number of seats independently as compared to the previous Lok Sabha elections.
The AGP, a regional party born out of the historic Assam agitation, is actively preparing to reclaim its former prominence.
This move is seen as a strategic step to strengthen its bargaining position for seat sharing within Assam, where the BJP is a dominant partner in the alliance.
After the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP gained significant support in the state, relegating the AGP to a smaller role within the alliance.
However, in the upcoming elections, the AGP is planning to assert itself by demanding three Lok Sabha seats within the alliance.
During a recent party workers’ meeting in Tinsukia district, AGP president and state minister Atul Bora said: “Our party has previously secured power in Assam independently, even winning as many as 95 seats. We are focused on expanding our support base ahead of the forthcoming General Elections scheduled for next year.”
Notably, the AGP contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections without forming an alliance with the BJP.
However, before the 2016 state Assembly polls, the two parties joined forces in an alliance.
The relationship faced turbulence over the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Parliament, leading to the AGP briefly breaking ties with the BJP in 2019.
Nevertheless, within two months, the regional party reconciled and reestablished its alliance with the saffron camp, just before the Lok Sabha polls. Since then, the AGP has maintained its alliance with the BJP.
The AGP previously formed two governments in Assam, the first from 1985 to 1989 and the second from 1996 to 2001.
However, following the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP’s surge in support relegated the AGP to a minor partner within the alliance.
In the last General Elections, the AGP contested on two seats but failed to secure victory. This time, the AGP is gearing up to request three Lok Sabha seats from the BJP, and its leadership is actively preparing for the electoral battle.
Atul Bora stated: “The party is resolute in winning one or two seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.”
In contrast, sources within the BJP indicate that they may offer a maximum of two seats to their ally, the AGP.
Assam has a total of 14 Lok Sabha seats, with another BJP ally, Bodoland’s United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL), set to contest Kokrajhar seat, leaving the BJP to vie for the remaining Lok Sabha seats.