Assam: AUDF to align with Congress

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Guwahati, Nov 19: Riding on the piggyback of Samajwadi Party, Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF) is inching closer to the Congress to take on the AGP-BJP combine as Assam is heading for bipolar politics. An AUDF-SP deal will be sealed by next week as both Mulayam Singh and Amar Singh are coming, said AUDF chief Badaruddin Ajmal.

''We want the AUDF with the Congress and we have informed the party high-command in this regard,'' said Congress MP Kirip Chaliha, while speaking to sources.

The AUDF has major following among minorities, observed the MP, a known Gogoi-dissidence camp leader.

However, Mr Ajmal and Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi do not have good relations and Mr Gogoi's personal animosity is emerging as the stumbling block in brining the AUDF to Congress fold.

The AUDF had won 10 seats in its maiden outing at the state Assembly polls in 2006, the very year it was formed.

The small dissidence group against Mr Gogoi in the APCC has, however, successfully convinced the Congress high-command about the need to include AUDF and the party in-charge of the state Veerappa Moily too has reportedly convened it to the Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.

''We will examine any proposal coming from Congress'' Mr Ajmal said adding we wanted to be with the AGP but they went with BJP, and we had to come out.

With 33 per cent Muslim vote, AUDF has a larger role and a stray AUDF will spell doom for Congress in the whole state except in Upper Assam.

''The Congress cannot have the luxury of aligning with the Bodos after Udalguri riot and 3010,'' said Gauhati University Political Science Reader Dr Noni Gopal Mahanta.

Mr Gogoi could be made to soften his animosity towards Mr Ajmal, who is contesting for Lok Sabha seat from Dhubri. Mr Ajmal already represents South Salmara constituency in the state Assembly.

After the 3010, the chips were down for Mr Gogoi. After overtly appeasing the minorities both in the riot and then blast, he has lost his face before people of Assam and in this Lok Sabha poll Congress will be routed, said the AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary to UNI.

But in matters relating to voting pattern, ground level coordination, equation with tribal groups and governance, the Congress is ahead.

Only an emotional wave can make a drastic change in the result, otherwise there will be marginal change in favour of AGP-BJP, said well known political commentator Nitya Bora.

Assam has 14 Lok Sabha seats. Congress and its allies have 10 while AGP-BJP has four.

UNI

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