Despite opposition from its grassroots workers, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) has decided to contest the Lok Sabha elections in Assam together with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Bodoland Peoples' Front (BPF).
The decision was taken at a meeting of senior AGP leaders including Party President Atul Bora, former Minister Keshav Mahanta and others with BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav on Tuesday night.
The meeting was also attended by Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
"After the discussion, the BJP and the AGP have decided to work together in the coming Parliament elections in Assam to defeat the Congress. The BPF will be the 3rd partner in the alliance," BJP leader Ram Madhav announced on Twitter late on Tuesday night.
Ram Madhav further said that the three AGP ministers in the state cabinet have been requested to resume their charges as soon as possible.
"The decision to join the alliance was taken in the interest of the state and to ensure the defeat of Congress in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls," said AGP President Atul Bora.
The AGP and BJP had fought the 2016 Assembly polls as an alliance and had wrested Assam from the Congress, which had ruled the state for three consecutive terms since 2001.
However, relations between the two parties soured over time and the regional party snapped its ties with the BJP this January following differences over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016.
Ahead of Tuesday's announcement, the AGP remained a divided house on the issue of an alliance with the BJP with senior AGP leader and former Assam Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta saying the party does not want any pre-poll alliance and is trying to strengthen itself.