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Gogoi-Ajmal proxy battle in Assam
Published on 6 Mar. 2009 11:34 PM IST
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Assam’s two most bitter political rivals are fielding their brothers against each other in a fight which has, in a way, covered the entire political spectrum of the state. The rivals are chief minister Tarun Gogoi and Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF) president Badaruddin Ajmal. The chief minister is fielding his brother and sitting MP Deep Gogoi in the Koliabor seat. His election to the next Lok Sabha is almost a forgone conclusion as the opposition parties have been struggling to find a suitable candidate to take on the entire might of the Congress. “My brother Sirajuddin Ajmal will be contesting that seat,” Badaruddin Ajmal said, adding, he would be taking on Gogoi in the main battle. Both are arch rivals and since 2006, they have not given up any opportunity to belittle each other. Gogoi frustrated Ajmal’s possible entry into the Congress despite various efforts by the Congress high commands and a sizable section of the Congress state leadership apprehends that split in the minority camp will spell doom. “We do not need Ajmal’s help. We are not on crutches that we need help of others. We are powerful enough,” Gogoi claimed last week. “Who said AUDF is looking for a tie-up with Congress? It is their MPs which are pleading with us to come to the Congress fold. I invite both Gogoi and his party leaders to join our party,” said Ajmal, continuing the never-ending verbal duel. The crux of the problem is the huge minority base and Ajmal wants to become the undisputed leader of that and has achieved it to a great extent at the cost of the Congress. The Congress is now looking out for an opportunity to split the AUDF and according to the Gogoi camp it is “just a mere formality.” Ajmal has hit back hard by announcing his candidature in two Congress strongholds of Silchar and Dhubri and fielding his brother in the third in Koliabor against Gogoi’s brother, turning all these three Congress dominated seats into a nerve wrecking battle. “I shall see to it that Gogoi’s pride is vanquished in at least five constituencies,” he said. Meanwhile, some senior Congressmen like MP Sylvius Condpan openly agreed that the AUDF would cause severe harm in the state for the Congress. Ajmal, thinking big, has already floated his party’s branches in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, terming it as an alternative voice for the Muslims of the country.

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