Blow to AGP as former chief resigns, could join BJP

Guwahati, March 8: Assam’s Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) Saturday received a jolt ahead of the Lok Sabha polls with the resignation of former party president Chandra Mohan Patowari, who is now likely to join the BJP.

Although Patowary could not be contacted, AGP sources confirmed his resignation.

Besides Patowari, several other leaders of the once prominent regional political party had left in the last few years due to growing dissidence. Prominent among those who left the party included Sarbananda Sonowal, who is now head of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s state unit.

Patowary, a four-time legislature from Dharmapur and state agriculture minister in the AGP government from 1996 to 2001, took the final decision of resigning from the party after holding a meeting with his supporters Friday.

Sources close to Patowary said that he had been insisting the AGP leadership to have an alliance with the BJP for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls and set a deadline of March 1 to finalize the alliance..

There is now speculation that Patowary will join the BJP soon and is likely to contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls from Barpeta Lok Sabha constituency.

Last week, AGP leader and former minister Hitendra Nath Goswami joined BJP.

The AGP, which ruled Assam twice (1985-90; 1996-2001) has not won a single election since 2001 and remained a divided house.