The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) on Thursday said it is in talks with the Congress for an alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. State Congress leaders, however, denied any such development.
The AIUDF, led by MP and perfume baron Badruddin Ajmal, enjoys a large support base in the Bengali-speaking Muslim community in Lower Assam region. Now, with the general elections next year, the AIDUF is eyeing to be a part of a “grand alliance” of Opposition parties led by the Congress.
AIUDF general secretary Aminul Islam told The Indian Express, “We are in talks for an alliance with the AICC. We are part of the 18-party alliance led by the Congress at the national level.” A party source said Ajmal attended an Iftar party hosted by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in Delhi earlier this month. State Congress leaders, however, ruled out any possibility of such an alliance.
Former chief minister and senior Congress leader Tarun Gogoi told The Indian Express, “There is no basis in such news, these are rumours. They [national leadership of Congress] won’t do anything without consulting the Assam unit…”
Although AIUDF leaders say they are open to negotiations for a “secular” front, Gogoi considers the party “communal”. “We are opposing the BJP for being a communal party, but the AIUDF is also a communal party. In the last Assembly elections, the AIUDF played the B team for the BJP,” said Gogoi. “They fielded candidates in more than 30 constituencies where they had no chance of winning. They fielded them to divide votes and thereby help the BJP.”
Asked for a comment, Assam BJP spokesperson Rupam Goswami said, “The BJP has been saying for long that the Congress and the AIUDF have internal arrangements.”