Home Politics Congress under Attack for Forming Oppn Front in Assam Minus Ajmal Party, TMC

Congress under Attack for Forming Oppn Front in Assam Minus Ajmal Party, TMC

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Congress under Attack for Forming Oppn Front in Assam Minus Ajmal Party, TMC
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GUWAHATI – A rejuvenated attempt at forming an opposition bloc to take on the BJP in the 2024 election in Assam has been initiated by the Congress.

The party had arranged a meeting in Guwahati two days ago with leaders of ten political parties in the state to stitch a ‘Mahajot’ to stop the BJP’s fierce election machinery in next year’s Lok Sabha poll.

After the meeting, Assam Congress president Bhupen Borah said, “To determine a plan of action, we talked about the political climate today and the problems that people in Assam face. We came to the conclusion that a coordinated effort is required to defend democracy and counter the BJP’s opposition to the Constitution and the people.”

But the attempt has drawn criticism even from the opposition camp, with the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and Trinamool Congress launching a direct attack on Congress over this issue.

The ten-party meeting was arranged without extending an invitation to the AIUDF and Trinamool Congress. Assam Trinamool leader Ripun Bora said, “Congress met with some parties that have a single person, and some of the other parties exist only on paper. If the leaders of Congress were genuine enough to fight the BJP, then they would have tried to meet Trinamool and AIUDF leaders.”

Bora made it clear that this composition of ‘Mahajot’ would not be able to take on Narendra Modi’s party in Assam, but rather might help the BJP in consolidating votes.

Badruddin Ajmal’s AIUDF is more critical to the Congress. The party’s MLA and spokesperson, Karim Uddin Barbhuiya, accused Congress leaders of helping the BJP. He cited the examples of last year’s Rajya Sabha and President election.

“Congress MLAs deliberately made Ripun Bora lose the battle of Rajya Sabha. He had to shift to Trinamool after that episode. Similarly, Congress leaders cross-voted in favour of the NDA’s presidential nominee, Draupadi Murmu, instead of the opposition’s candidate, Yashwant Sinha. Though the Congress leaders warned of action, they have not done anything. This shows their intention in helping the BJP,” Barbhuiya said.

The Aam Admi Party (AAP) was also not invited.

“We were the second party in the Guwahati Municipal Corporation election. Congress came in a distant third. How can an opposition unity have formed by omitting us?” an AAP leader questioned.

The question that is doing the rounds is: Can a grand alliance omitting the AIUDF, Trinamool, and AAP be able to put up a good fight against the BJP?

Trinamool and AAP-these two parties do not have much impact at the grassroots level in state politics as of now. The two top Trinamool leaders in the state, Ripun Bora and Sushmita Dev, defected from the Congress after their loss in the elections and probably would not mark a win if they were candidates in Lok Sabha polls next year. The AAP is still looking for a face in Assam.

However, this is not the case with the AIUDF. Badruddin Ajmal’s party has a strong hold in the Muslim-dominated areas of the state. It has 16 MLAs and one Lok Sabha MP. Badruddin Ajmal is expected to retain his Dhubri seat in next year’s election.

But Nagaon, Barpeta, and Kalibor — these three seats — may become hard for the Congress to retain if AIUDF fields candidates there. In fact, in the lower Assam belt, where sizable Muslim voters are, Congress has diminished chances of winning seats without AIUDF’s help.

Southern Assam’s Barak Valley has two Lok Sabha seats — Silchar and Karimganj, both currently held by BJP MPs. Around 50 per cent of the population in that region are Muslims, and AIUDF has a strong presence there. Due to the Congress-AIUDF grand alliance in the 2021 Assembly election, the BJP found it hard to win only 6 out of the total 15 Assembly seats in the valley. But, with Congress and the AIUDF fighting separately there, it is to the advantage of the BJP.

In upper Assam and Bodoland, the BJP and its allies are clearly much ahead of the opposition. The nine other parties that attended Bhupen Borah’s meeting either had minimal or zero presence in terms of drawing votes in their favour. Therefore, the Congress party’s latest attempt at forming a new opposition bloc might not be significant in winning the Lok Sabha battle. -IANS

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