The central leadership of the Congress has asked its Assam unit to avoid making public statements on a Bihar-like grand alliance.
In a video conference with Assam Pradesh Congress Committee leaders on Monday, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and other senior leaders also made it clear that the party’s high command would take the final call on any alliance ahead of the 2021 Assembly poll.
Many within the Congress, especially in eastern Assam, have been unhappy with the State unit’s push for an alliance with the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF).
The AIUDF is viewed as a party that bats for Bengali-speaking Muslim migrants. Congress leaders wary of “sending the wrong signal” to voters belonging to the indigenous communities feel that an alliance with AIUDF could be counter-productive and help the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) retain power.
“Rahul Gandhi, Jitendra Singh (general secretary in charge of Assam) and others said we should refrain from making any reference to a proposed grand alliance as such decisions would be taken by the All India Congress Committee,” a senior State Congress leader said on condition of anonymity.
“We were reminded that our silence on the alliance front can take the shine out of the BJP’s brand of polarisation of votes on religious lines,” said the leader, a former MLA.
Both the Congress and the AIUDF had indicated that the chances of their contesting the 2021 polls together were high. The Left Front, comprising the Communist Party of India and the CPI (Maoist), is an ally of the Congress, as of now.