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‘Cong, AIUDF can unite to contest Rajya Sabha polls’
 GUWAHATI, Feb 20 - With elections to three Rajya Sabha seats from Assam to be held next month, the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) believes that opportunity exists for the opposition forces to work unitedly for winning one of the seats.

 “There is an opportunity for the opposition. The only two opposition parties with presence in the Assam Legislative Assembly are the Congress and the AIUDF. It would be worthwhile if the two parties can arrive at some sort of understanding. Opposition unity is the need of the time. If the Congress and the AIUDF arrive at a consensus on the issue, then we can win one of the three seats,” a senior office-bearer of the party led by Badruddin Ajmal told this newspaper.

He, however, added that so far, the AIUDF has not formally started discussions on the issue of the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections.

“Maybe the Congress and the AIUDF can explore the option of jointly fielding an eminent personality who is not a member of any political party,” he said.

“But I must add that our experience with the Congress on many previous occasions have not been good,” said the AIUDF leader.

On being contacted, Congress sources said things will depend on “arithmetic”.

“There is a possibility that the Election Commission of India (ECI) may not hold the polls for the three seats simultaneously. There are rumours that notification for one of the seats will be issued first and elections for the other two seats will be held afterwards. The BJP-led ruling alliance will have the advantage if the elections for the three seats are held separately,” said a senior leader of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC).

It is noteworthy that the term of Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) Rajya Sabha MP Biswajit Daimary will end on April 9. Two other Rajya Sabha seats from Assam are vacant since last year following resignations by Bhubaneswar Kalita and Sanjay Sinh.

Kalita and Sinh had resigned from the Rajya Sabha and also quit the Congress party, before joining the BJP.

The BJP is sure to field Kalita from one of the vacancies. Of the three seats for which elections are to be held, the BJP is expected to contest from two and leave the third for its ally BPF.

In the 126-member Legislative Assembly, two seats are currently vacant. Of the remaining 124, the ruling NDA holds 86 (including 60 of the BJP, 14 of the AGP and 12 of the BPF) and also has the support of the sole Independent MLA. In the opposition benches, there are 23 legislators of the Congress and 14 of the AIUDF.

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