The Congress and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) on Wednesday announced veteran Assamese journalist Ajit Kumar Bhuyan as their joint candidate for the forthcoming Rajya Sabha elections.
The Bodoland People’s Front’s Biswajit Daimary, too, filed his nomination for the Upper House on Wednesday. Daimary is a current Rajya Sabha MP and his party is in alliance with the BJP in the state government. Daimary was accompanied by chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, state finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and BJP state unit president Ranjeet Dass.
Bhuyan is a renowned scribe who has been vocal against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, taking part in numerous protests against it. He was arrested during the Hiteshwar Saikia-led Congress state government in 1992 and 1994 under the under NSA and the erstwhile TADA, respectively. He was also arrested in 1997 by the Prafulla Mahanta-led AGP government-again under the NSA.
Earlier this year, he resigned as the editor-in-chief of Assamese news channel Prag News, with media reports speculating that it could be related to his vehement criticism of the BJP and the CAA.
“Bhuyan had submitted a written request seeking support from the Congress and the AIUDF,” said state Congress president Ripun Bora, describing Bhuyan as “neutral”. The AIUDF described him as a “secular and anti-CAA” person who has always spoken up for Assam’s interests.
Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma hit out at Bhuyan for taking support from the AIUDF.
“If Bhuyan wants to stand on the same stage as Badruddin Ajmal, then it is very sad news for the jati (community). Did the intellectuals take part in the anti-CAA protests only to become Rajya Sabha MP? Bhuyan was criticising the BJP for so long. Was he doing it only on Ajmal’s directions?”
The AIUDF is led by perfume baron and MP Badruddin Ajmal. The party enjoys a large support base among Bengali Muslims in Assam.
Targeting Ajmal and his party has been an important part of the BJP’s political rhetoric in the state. The BJP had previously claimed a Congress-AIUDF alliance in Assam multiple times, even though the Congress denied it vehemently.
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