GUWAHATI: As Assam heads for the Assembly elections, the two main players – the Congress and BJP – are caught up in a fight over their alleged tacit understanding with minority-wing All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF).
As of now, though there is no clarity about the AIUDF’s move. Some events have made the voters wonder if the outfit is playing with both sides. A couple of months ago, AIUDF chief and Lok Sabha MP Badruddin Ajmal met Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi twice at his official residence in Guwahati.
What transpired in the meetings was not known, but the BJP claimed that the meetings were held to finalise a poll deal with the Congress. The fact that Ajmal decided to contest the elections from South Salmara constituency only added fuel to the fire. The constituency was earlier held by Ajmal’s son Abdur Rahman Ajmal.
Similarly, the Congress allegation that the AIUDF has forged an alliance with the BJP is also not without any basis. Apart from contesting in areas where the Muslims have a large population, the AIUDF is contesting in some seats in eastern and northern Assam, which have been traditionally Congress strongholds.
The Congress alleges that the AIUDF’s move is aimed at causing a split in its votes to favour the BJP. In the past, the outfit has done well only in constituencies where the Bengali Muslims have a sizeable population. But with that population quite negligible in these seats, the suspicions have only increased. The BJP claims that the Congress has promised the post of deputy Chief Minister to Ajmal for his support.
“Afraid of the BJP, Gogoi has proposed that he will make Ajmal the Deputy CM if the Congress-AIUDF combine comes to power,” BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal alleged in a rally recently.
Former Congress spokesperson Mehdi Alam Bora, who defected to the BJP last week, said that there’s resentment among the Congress workers over the ‘deal’ with Ajmal. On his part, Ajmal denies having struck any alliance either with the Congress or the BJP, but asserts that the AIUDF is open to post-poll alliance with all secular parties.