Assam: BJP gaining from minority-based AIUDF’s existence, says Congress

Assam Congress president Bhupen Kumar Borah said the AIUDF and the BJP were the two sides of the same coin.
Image used for representational purpose only. (File photo)
Image used for representational purpose only. (File photo)

GUWAHATI: The Congress in Assam believes it can regain its lost ground if people start rejecting the minority-based All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF).

The Congress said the AIUDF was largely responsible for the growth of the BJP-RSS in Assam.

Recently, AIUDF chief and Lok Sabha member Maulana Badruddin Ajmal had sent feelers to the Congress for an alliance but it spurned the offer. The Congress accused the AIUDF of working at the behest of the saffron party.

Assam Congress president Bhupen Kumar Borah said the AIUDF and the BJP were the two sides of the same coin.

“The Congress will do everything possible to ensure the defeat of the AIUDF in the Dhubri seat in the next Lok Sabha elections. People who participated in the Congress' Bharat Jodo Yatra in Dhubri told me they are with us as we rejected Ajmal’s offer to align with the AIUDF,” Borah told journalists.

Ajmal, also a perfume baron, is the Dhubri MP.

“People want us not to align with the AIUDF. The AIUDF is the BJP’s elixir. The growth of the BJP-RSS in Assam started ever since the birth of the AIUDF (in 2005). The BJP will suffer an existential crisis the day people start rejecting the AIUDF,” Borah said.

Two days ago, Ajmal had made a vitriolic attack on the Congress, claiming that the party’s state leaders do not speak up against the BJP as they regularly receive money from Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma who also sponsors their foreign trips.

The BJP pilloried both parties. “They have a tacit understanding but they pretend they are at loggerheads with each other. It was apparent in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections when the AIUDF did not set up candidates in certain seats to ensure the Congress gets the minority votes,” BJP spokesperson Rupam Goswami said.

Ahead of last year’s Assembly elections, the Congress had taken the lead in the formation of a grand alliance of opposition parties. The basic idea was to thwart the division of anti-BJP votes. The AIUDF was a key component of the formation.

It worked in favour of the AIUDF, which holds sway in the Muslim-majority seats but backfired for the Congress in the Assamese-majority seats. Many in the state, who view the AIUDF as the “protector” of the migrant Muslims, had rejected the Congress.

After the results were declared, Congress and the AIUDF had fallen apart. They blamed each other for failing to prevent the BJP from retaining power.

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