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Battle of brothers in Assam polls
Published on 24 Mar. 2009 12:15 AM IST
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It will now be a battle of brothers in Assam with Chief Minister Tarun Gogois brother and sitting MP Dip Gogoi pitted against senior Gogois bete noire and AUDF chief Badruddin Ajmals sibling Sirajuddin Ajmal in the Lok Sabha polls. The senior Ajmal had hinted at the possibility of fielding Sirajuddin, a member of the state Assembly, to take on the chief ministers brother in Koliabor constituency, with a formal announcement of the candidature coming late last night. The Asom United Democratic Fronts announcement is likely to be a major worrying factor for Dip Gogoi as a vertical split in minority votes, which was previously the domain of the Congress, is feared. Tarun Gogoi had been going all out in ensuring a second term for his brother, but Sirajuddins candidature now threatens to upset his equations. The choice of Sirajuddin as the candidate is construed as a direct repercussion of the animosity between Tarun Gogoi and Badruddin Ajmal. With Sirajuddin in the fray now, ensuring a victory for Dip Gogoi would become an almost prestige issue for the chief minister, who had himself held the Koliabor seat for three terms before vacating it to join state politics. The AGP-BJP combines candidate Gunin Hazarika would emerge as the benefactor from the contest between the Congress and AUDF as the AUDFs candidature is expected to have the least impact on the AGP-BJPs vote bank. Badruddin Ajmal had threatened the Congress stronghold over minority voters by winning ten seats in the 2006 Assembly polls, the very year the AUDF was formed. The senior Ajmal would himself take on Congress heavyweight and Union Minister Bijoy Krishna Handique in Silchar, who will be seeking a sixth term from the constituency. Badruddin Ajmal will also contest from the Dhubri seat, another Congress stronghold.

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