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Mahanta rejoins AGP amid protest

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The former Assam Chief Minister, Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, waves to his supporters as the Asom Gana Parishad party president Chandra Mohan Patowary shows Mr. Mahanta’s membership card during the 23rd foundation day of the AGP in Golaghat on Tuesday.
The former Assam Chief Minister, Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, waves to his supporters as the Asom Gana Parishad party president Chandra Mohan Patowary shows Mr. Mahanta’s membership card during the 23rd foundation day of the AGP in Golaghat on Tuesday.

Special Correspondent

Party’s aim is to free Assam from Bangladeshi infiltrators: AGP chief

Guwahati: Amid protest by the All-Assam Students’ Union (AASU), the former Assam Chief Minister, Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, on Tuesday returned to the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), nearly three years after he was expelled from it on charges of anti-party activities.

Mr. Mahanta’s entry was facilitated after a formal merger of three regional parties, including his party AGP (Pragatisheel), into the AGP at upper Assam’s Golaghat town. The other two parties are Trinamool Gana Parishad (TGP) and Purbanchaliya Loka Parishad (PLP-Prabin Deka faction). Another political outfit, the Jatiya Eikya Manch, also merged with the AGP at the same function. The merger was formally announced by AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary.

Leaders of the AGP and the three parties, including Mr. Mahanta, became nostalgic as it was on this day the regional party took birth at the same venue in 1985. Mr. Mahanta was the founder-president when the AASU under his leadership formed the AGP after the culmination of a six-year anti-foreigners’ agitation spearheaded by the student body and signing of the Assam Accord.

Mr. Mahanta was expelled from the AGP on July 3, 2005, following which he formed the AGP (Pragatisheel) on September 15, 2005 along with his followers.

Mr. Patowary welcomed Mr. Mahanta and other leaders, including the former Speaker, Pulakesh Barua; the former AGP Ministers Atul Bora, Biraj Kumar Sarma, Rekahrani Das Boro, Sahidul Alam Choudhury, Gunin Hazarika and Utpal Dutta back to the party’s fold with a ‘gamocha’ and handed them party membership slips on the dais.

Hundreds of AASU workers raised anti-Mahanta slogans and observed the day as “betrayal day.” They took out processions across the State, accusing Mr. Mahanta of killing Assamese youth when in power and for failing to implement the Assam Accord.

In his presidential address, Mr. Patowary said the objective of the united regional party would be to free Assam from illegal Bangladeshi infiltrators and implement the Assam Accord to safeguard the interest of indigenous people. Mr. Mahanta hoped that following the unification, the AGP would now become a stronger regional force.

Goswami stays away

The former AGP president, Brindaban Goswami, however, stayed away from the merger function and the central function of the party’s foundation day at Golaghat. Mr. Goswami observed the day at the AGP office at Tezpur along with some party cadres and vowed to fight against deviations from party policy and norms by a section of party leaders.


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