Factional fight to the fore in AGP

GUWAHATI Oct. 22. The factional fight in the Asom Gana Parishad, the main Opposition party in the State, has now come to a head. An urgent meeting of the central executive committee, demanded by more than half of its 96 members, will be held on October 28.

While the party president, Brindaban Goswami, heads one faction, the other consists of loyalists of the party founder and two-time Chief Minister, Prafulla Kumar Mahanta who was forced into political hibernation two years ago, following allegations of bigamy, later proved baseless.

The process of marginalising Mr. Mahanta began after Mr. Goswami became party president. Matters took a serious turn when the former was not included in a list of special invitees to the party's 18th foundation-day function at Dhemaji on October 14.

The party spokesman, Sarbananda Sonowal, asked ``If he [Mr. Mahanta] considers himself a devoted soldier of the party, why should he wait for a formal invitation?'' Even as the war of words continued, the Mahanta camp was provoked by the All Assam Students' Union (AASU) president, Prabin Boro, who said the union would not allow Mr. Mahanta to attend the coming AGP conference at Tezpur in December and boycott him publicly all over the State. This led to about 40 Mahanta loyalists in the central executive committee issuing a notice demanding that an urgent meeting of the panel be convened to discuss ``unwanted outside interference in party affairs''.

The Goswami camp was alarmed over the possibility of a split. Four general secretaries of the party met Mr. Mahanta and tried to persuade him to withdraw the notice. Mr. Mahanta said that he was not a signatory to the notice. He also ``heard without commenting'' the proposal that Mr. Goswami would be No. 1 in the party and he would be treated as No. 2.

However, the notice was not withdrawn and the meeting would take place on October 28.

Recommended for you