Srikanta Deka, a dedicated foot soldier of the AGP ever since the party was formed in 1985, has seen the roller-coaster ride of this regional party.
The Battle of Saraighat has it that Assam’s most celebrated military general Lachit Borphukan had dealt the decisive blow on the invading Mughal forces in 1671.
Sixty-year-old Deka, who has been with the party since 1985, have seen the “ups and downs” of AGP – both sunny days and dark nights.
But, the 2019 Lok Sabha polls are proving to be the “toughest” for this small-time trader from Dimoria, about 35 km from Guwahati.
He has been “forced” to go to the hustings for the BJP candidate in Guwahati – Queen Oja – and is also busy convincing voters why the regional party had to renew its alliance with the saffron party.
It was in January this year that the AGP had a “bitter divorce” with the BJP when the whole of Assam was burning over the Citizenship Bill issue.
With dates for Lok Sabha polls announced, the “bitter divorce” of AGP-BJP ended in a “quick remarriage”.
As a part of its pre-poll alliance, the regional party got just three (out of 14) seats to contest.
“It’s really hard work. There are people who don’t want to support the BJP candidate Queen Oja and want our own party candidate to contest. It’s difcult to convince them. They are adamant,” he says.
Oja was an AGP leader but later joined the saffron fold. She will lock horns with Congress candidate Bobbeeta Sharma for the Gauhati Lok Sabha seat.
“I have to accept the reality that she (Oja) is our candidate and I must try to make her the winner irrespective of our differences…Our aim is to defeat the Congress,” says Deka, a father of four.
“My entire life has been devoted to regionalism and to AGP. So, I have little option…”