Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Ripun Bora made a quick U-turn, hours after stressing the need for a new front comprising the Congress, AGP, BPF, AIUDF and Independents, a strategy first mooted by party leader and Jania MLA Abdul Khaleque following the developments in Karnataka.

Ripun Bora had on Sunday said at a party meeting at Hajo that along with the AGP and BPF — both alliance partners of the BJP-led government — the AIUDF and lone Independent MLA should also join hands to form a non-BJP government and that the Congress party will support the front from outside.

The Assam PCC president further said that in so far as the CM face is considered, the Congress will support whosoever the AGP-BPF-AIUDF picks as chief minister.

“There is nothing called impossible in politics. It won’t serve any purpose if the AGP only comes ahead. The BPF and AIUDF also need to join hands with AGP. We are ready to extend outside support to the new front,” Ripun Bora said and added: “It’s up to them to decide who will become chief minister. They will choose a leader and the Congress will support from outside”.

Bora’s statement meant the Congress has no issues with even AIUDF supremo Badruddin Ajmal becoming chief minister of Assam that led to sharp reactions within and outside the party.

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Former three-term Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi was among the many Congress leaders taking strong exception to Ripun Bora’s statement forcing the PCC chief to make a quick U-turn claiming that the Congress will never join hands with the AIUDF, let alone supporting Badruddin Ajmal as chief minister of Assam.

“I have been quoted out of context. We will never ally with the AIUDF and there is no question of supporting Badruddin Ajmal as chief minister of Assam,” Ripun Bora said following the furore his earlier statement created.

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Incidentally, if AIUDF is left out of the equations to form an alternative non-BJP government, the total number of legislators comes down to 53 — 26 of the Congress, 14 of AGP, 12 of BPF and 1 Independent — 11 short of the majority figure of 64.