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AIUDF toying with idea of anti-BJP ‘united front’
PRANJAL BHUYAN
 GUWAHATI, Feb 5 - While the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) may have announced its decision to contest from seven constituencies in Assam in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls, the party is still exploring the possibility of forming a ‘united front’ of anti-BJP forces in the State.

Senior AIUDF leaders told The Assam Tribune that every option will be explored to form a ‘Mahagathbandhan’ or grand alliance of Opposition parties in the State for the general election.

“Talks are on with some parties over this issue, but nothing has been finalised so far with regard to alliance or seat-sharing,” a senior AIUDF office-bearer said.

He added, “even some leaders of the Congress party are in contact with us.”

It is noteworthy that both the State unit of the Congress as well as the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) has already passed resolutions against having any alliance with the AIUDF for the Lok Sabha polls.

Last week, AIUDF had announced that it will field candidates from Dhubri, Barpeta, Karimganj, Silchar, Nagaon, Kaliabor and Mangaldai constituencies for the Parliamentary elections.

“It is true that we have announced our intention to contest from seven seats in Assam because we have a very strong organisational base in those constituencies. But our main priority is to ensure the defeat of the BJP. And for that reason, if necessary, we are ready to explore all avenues. That could mean compromising with regard to seats. If we notice that other parties are open to the idea of an alliance, there is no reason for us to remain adamant as far as seats are concerned,” said the senior AIUDF office-bearer.

He said that at the national level efforts are already on to form a united front of all Opposition parties. AIUDF is a part of the 23-party informal Opposition group at the all-India level.

“We want such a front in Assam as well. The AGP, the BPF and even the Congress should come and join hands with us towards achieving that objective,” said the leader.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the AIUDF had emerged victorious in three of the 14 constituencies in Assam. The party has sitting MPs in Dhubri, Barpeta and Karimganj.

Meanwhile, AIUDF leaders refused to admit that the party’s minority support base has shifted loyalty to the Congress.

“Look at South Salmara-Mankachar district where over 85 per cent of the population belongs to the Muslim community, or look at Hailakandi, which is also a Muslim-majority district. In both the places, our party came on top during the recent panchayat polls while the Congress was virtually decimated. We also clocked very good results in districts like Barpeta, Nagaon, Hojai and Dhubri. Overall, we remain the third-largest party in Assam. This amply proves that minority voters stand with us. There is no erosion in our support base,” said a senior AIUDF leader.

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