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Congress eyes pact with AIUDF in Assam ahead of Lok Sabha polls next year

A pact with Badruddin Ajmal’s All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) is aimed at consolidating the Muslim vote in the state.

india Updated: Jun 20, 2018 23:48 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress,AIUDF,Assam
Badruddin Ajmal is addresses an election rally at Gossaingaon Telipara, Assam India in April 2016. (Subhendu Ghosh/HT File Photo )

The Congress leadership is exploring the possibility of a pre-poll or post-poll tie-up with perfume baron Badruddin Ajmal’s All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), a political party active in Assam, with an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The effort has run into strong resistance from a section of the Congress’ Assam unit, including former chief minister Tarun Gogoi, who has a long history of rivalry with Ajmal.

Ajmal was present at the Iftar party hosted by Congress president Rahul Gandhi last week.

A pact with Ajmal is aimed at consolidating the Muslim vote in the state. But the flip side, according to observers, is that the BJP may use it to consolidate the Hindu vote.

While a pre-poll tie-up with AIUDF may help consolidate the Muslim votes in Assam, which has 14 seats in the Lok Sabha, former CM Gogoi is believed to have thrown a spanner into the works. His rivalry with Ajmal goes back a long way.

Gogoi, who met Congress president Rahul Gandhi last week, has maintained that Ajmal’s clout among Bengali-speaking minorities has considerably weakened and the Congress is stronger than it was in Assam, party members familiar with his stand said on condition of anonymity. So Gogoi has argued that there is no need to join hands with Ajmal, the leader cited above said. State Congress unit chief Ripun Bora is also backing Gogoi.

Bora said on Wednesday, “Any pact with AIUDF will be suicidal as it will help BJP to polarise the Hindu vote. In last assembly poll, he fielded candidates to defeat Congress and help the BJP.”

First Published: Jun 20, 2018 23:48 IST