//Assam : Vote shares show AUDF gain at Cong expense

Assam : Vote shares show AUDF gain at Cong expense

Guwahati, May 12: The Congress vote share has dipped to 31.14 per cent, compared to the 39.6 per cent it secured last time. The party’s total number of seats has also fallen to 53 from the 70 seats it bagged last time.

Significantly, though the nascent Assam United Democratic Front (AUDF) got the same number of seats as the BJP, its total vote share was lower than the national party. The AUDF got 9.03 per cent of the total votes.

The share of votes the BJP has polled in Assam has risen from 9.26 per cent last time to 11.93 per cent, resulting in its gaining two seats.

The impressive show by the AUDF has led the Congress think-tank to believe that the party would have bettered its performance if the front had not been floated.

“It was the Congress vote which was drawn away by the AUDF. In terms of seats what the AUDF got may not be large, but this has definitely eroded our overall tally,” a PCC leader said.

But the AGP, which has improved upon its tally by four seats, has not gained much in terms of voting percentage. The party’s total vote share was 20.13 per cent last time. This time, it was slightly higher at 20.76 per cent.

The other new entrant into Assam’s electoral politics, the AGP (Pragatisheel), managed to garner only 2.51 per cent of the total votes. Former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta was the only candidate of the party to taste victory.

The NCP also got only one seat, managing just 2.3 per cent of the vote pie. This is a little less than the 2.51 per cent it polled in the 2001 Assembly elections. The NCP had picked up four seats last time.

Though the voting percentage of the NCP did not fall drastically, the loss of three seats has created ripples within the party. Today’s party executive meeting was postponed till May 23.


Assam: Surprise support for Cong
Deborshi Chaki
CNN-IBN, May 13, 2006 at 12:00

Guwahati: The Congress is getting support from unexpected quarters in Assam, where it is set to form a coalition ministry.

The Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF), a party formed to oppose the Congress, is now offering support to the Congress.

The AUDF was formed on an anti-Congress plank after the Supreme Court scrapped the controversial IMDT Act.

Speaking exclusively to CNN-IBN, AUDF President Baduruddin Azmal said he would back the Congress if it could promise a transparent govt.

"I assure Assam that in next 5 years, poor people will not see another election. We'll give a stable government," said Azmal.

The ball is now in Congress's court. It is already comfortably placed, backed by its ally, the Bodo People's Progressive Front, which has won 12 seats in the current Assembly.

Congress general secretary in charge of Assam, Digvijay Singh, has said his party is open to support from the AUDF, if it is unconditional.

"They want to extend support unilaterally, they are welcome. But not with any conditions," said Singh.

The AUDF offer opened new possibilities for the Congress. Its ally, Bodo People's Democratic Front, has demanded at least three cabinet berths. The demand, many say, might be unacceptable to the Congress as it may give rise to some dissent in the party ranks.

Sources in the party say the details of the coalition government will be hammered out on Saturday, when the Congress convenes its legislature party meeting.


Formation of AUDF affected Congress: Gogoi


Assam Chief Minister-designate Tarun Gogoi today admitted the formation of the Assam United Democratic Front, which draws support from minorities, had affected the Congress party's performance in assembly polls.

Gogoi told a press conference here that the alliance between the Congress and the Hagrama faction of the Bodoland People's Progressive Front (BPPF), however, had worked "wonders". The Congress, which won 53 seats in the 126-member assembly, is set to form a coalition government with the BPPF.

The AUDF, formed by businessman Badruddin Ajmal, had affected the performance of the Congress "in some areas", Gogoi said.

He said the "matured and conscious" people of Assam had also rejected efforts by national leaders like Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu to form a third front. The people had also defeated communal forces and given a thumbs up to peace and stability in Assam, he said.

Gogoi announced the central government had given the nod to set up the Rs 5,450-crore Assam gas cracker project. Seventy per cent equity in the project would be held by GAIL while Oil India Ltd, Assam Industrial Development Corporation and Numaligarh Refinery Ltd would each hold a 10 per cent share.

The state's GDP growth rate had doubled and this had not happened in any other state, he claimed. Gogoi also took pride in the fact that no party in the last 30 years had won two consecutive terms in Assam