//Assam minorities find their own politics

Assam minorities find their own politics

GUWAHATI, April 9 – The Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF) with a sizeable minority support base has emerged as a threat to the poll prospects of ruling Congress in Assam, reports PTI. The state, a traditional Congress bastion, has nine MPs from the ruling party which has over the years banked heavily on the minority vote bank. But the emergence of relatively new AUDF since the last Assembly elections in 2006 has made the going difficult for Congress.
AUDF has put up candidates in nine of the 14 Lok Sabha seats with its president Badruddin Ajmal contesting from the key Muslim constituencies of Silchar and Dhubri. In Silchar, he is likely to give a tough fight to Union Heavy Industries Minister Santosh Mohan Dev who has won the seat seven times.

Perfume baron Ajmal’s brother Sirajuddin Ajmal, an MLA in Assam, is also contesting from two seats of Nagaon and Kaliabor, both with sizeable Muslim voters. He has emerged as a major threat to Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s brother and Kaliabor’s sitting MP Deep Gogoi.

“Since Independence, political parties have not delivered what people especially Muslims had expected from them. AUDF is not for the Muslims alone, but for all marginalised sections of society,” Ajmal said.

To give credence to his statement, Ajmal pointed out that his party had given a ticket to Laxmi Orang, a tea tribe community girl who was stripped on the streets of Guwahati during a demonstration in November 2007.

“Authorities sabotaged her prospects by rejecting the nomination papers though her father Debo Orang is now contesting as AUDF candidate from Tezpur Lok Sabha seat,” he said.

“Along with the Muslims we will work for other marginalised sections who have remained on the periphery since independence,” he said.

The prospects of sitting Congress MP Lalit Mohan Suklabaidya in another minority-dominated constituency of Karimganj along the international border with Bangladesh also appears to be bleak with AUDF putting up a dalit candidate Rajesh Malla.

Congress has alleged that AUDF had entered into a “secret understanding” with AGP-BJP combine to defeat the ruling party in the Parliamentary polls.

The filing of papers by AUDF candidate Sonabar Ali at the last moment for Guwahati Parliamentary polls after they had agreed to leave the seat for NCP “is a clear indication that it has entered into a pact with BJP to divide the minority vote, traditionally in favour of us,” Congress spokesman Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

Ajmal, however, denied the allegations saying, “We are not with any communal party. Congress is scared of our prospects and was making baseless allegations.”

AUDF is contesting another minority dominated LS seat Barpeta where veteran Congress leader Golam Osmani, who died recently, had held fort for several terms.

AUDF candidate Abdus Samad is posing serious challenge to Congress candidate Ismail Hussain, who is a prominent member of the party’s minority cell.

The prospects of AUDF candidate Baeidiuz Jamal in Mangaldoi Parliamentary constituency, which had witnessed large scale communal violence in October 2008, is also said to be strong as the alliance partner of Congress in the state – Bodo Peoples’ Front (BPF) – has put up a candidate despite the ruling party’s veteran leader Madhab Rajbongshi contesting.

AssamTribune.COM, Guwahati, Friday, April 10, 2009