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AIUDF hails move, says ready for tie-up with Cong in Assam

By PRANJAL BHUYAN
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GUWAHATI, July 23 - Welcoming the Congress party�s latest position suggesting readiness to opt for State-specific alliances in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) has said that it is open to the idea of having a tie-up with the grand old party in Assam.

Sources in the AIUDF also claimed that the Congress has already sent some initial feelers to party supremo Badruddin Ajmal following the recent no-trust motion in the Lok Sabha.

�After the no-confidence motion last Friday, a senior Congress leader told Ajmal that they (Congress) would contact us soon for discussions. So there is a real possibility of talks between our two parties. They have sent a signal. However, at this moment we cannot say anything specific about the exact contours of any likely alliance or understanding. That will be possible only after, and if, any formal discussions take place,� a senior AIUDF leader told The Assam Tribune.

He said that Sunday�s decision by the newly-constituted Congress Working Committee (CWC) to send a message that the grand old party is open to State-specific alliances and authorising Rahul Gandhi to lead talks in this regard, has changed the situation dramatically. �This is a big difference from what the situation was earlier. Now CWC has itself taken the step for alliances,� said the AIUDF leader.

The Badruddin Ajmal-led party is, however, cautious and believes that some sections within the Congress may try to scuttle any bid for a formal understanding between the two parties.

�Tarun Gogoi is a member of the CWC. He has always opposed any understanding with us. Even now his role will be crucial. What role will Gogoi play? What will be the stand of the Assam unit of Congress?� wondered an AIUDF office-bearer.

The AIUDF believes that an alliance will be mutually beneficial. �Muslims comprise one-third of Assam�s population. Even in a constituency like Guwahati our party candidate received over one lakh votes during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. That resulted in a walkover for the BJP. Same is true for constituencies like Nagaon and Mangaldoi. If we put up a strong candidate in Silchar in 2019, then BJP will easily scrape through and Congress will lose the seat due to division of votes. So, alliance is essential for the Congress,� said the leader.

AIUDF sources added that even if the Congress calls for formal talks, a lot will depend on what will be on offer.

�We have three Lok Sabha MPs from Assam. So we cannot part with any of those seats for the Congress. Besides, there are other constituencies as well where our party strength is solid. So a lot will depend on the Congress. Will they be ready to extend a formal hand of friendship? If yes, then what will be offered to us?� said a leader.

He said AIUDF wants all Opposition forces to unite. �Our aim is to ensure that the unity and integrity of the greater Assamese society is preserved. For that a concerted effort is needed to defeat the BJP. The same is true at the pan-India level.�

The AIUDF had called for a �grand alliance� of anti-BJP parties in Assam for the 2016 Assembly polls, but the Congress had rejected the idea then.

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AIUDF hails move, says ready for tie-up with Cong in Assam

GUWAHATI, July 23 - Welcoming the Congress party�s latest position suggesting readiness to opt for State-specific alliances in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) has said that it is open to the idea of having a tie-up with the grand old party in Assam.

Sources in the AIUDF also claimed that the Congress has already sent some initial feelers to party supremo Badruddin Ajmal following the recent no-trust motion in the Lok Sabha.

�After the no-confidence motion last Friday, a senior Congress leader told Ajmal that they (Congress) would contact us soon for discussions. So there is a real possibility of talks between our two parties. They have sent a signal. However, at this moment we cannot say anything specific about the exact contours of any likely alliance or understanding. That will be possible only after, and if, any formal discussions take place,� a senior AIUDF leader told The Assam Tribune.

He said that Sunday�s decision by the newly-constituted Congress Working Committee (CWC) to send a message that the grand old party is open to State-specific alliances and authorising Rahul Gandhi to lead talks in this regard, has changed the situation dramatically. �This is a big difference from what the situation was earlier. Now CWC has itself taken the step for alliances,� said the AIUDF leader.

The Badruddin Ajmal-led party is, however, cautious and believes that some sections within the Congress may try to scuttle any bid for a formal understanding between the two parties.

�Tarun Gogoi is a member of the CWC. He has always opposed any understanding with us. Even now his role will be crucial. What role will Gogoi play? What will be the stand of the Assam unit of Congress?� wondered an AIUDF office-bearer.

The AIUDF believes that an alliance will be mutually beneficial. �Muslims comprise one-third of Assam�s population. Even in a constituency like Guwahati our party candidate received over one lakh votes during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. That resulted in a walkover for the BJP. Same is true for constituencies like Nagaon and Mangaldoi. If we put up a strong candidate in Silchar in 2019, then BJP will easily scrape through and Congress will lose the seat due to division of votes. So, alliance is essential for the Congress,� said the leader.

AIUDF sources added that even if the Congress calls for formal talks, a lot will depend on what will be on offer.

�We have three Lok Sabha MPs from Assam. So we cannot part with any of those seats for the Congress. Besides, there are other constituencies as well where our party strength is solid. So a lot will depend on the Congress. Will they be ready to extend a formal hand of friendship? If yes, then what will be offered to us?� said a leader.

He said AIUDF wants all Opposition forces to unite. �Our aim is to ensure that the unity and integrity of the greater Assamese society is preserved. For that a concerted effort is needed to defeat the BJP. The same is true at the pan-India level.�

The AIUDF had called for a �grand alliance� of anti-BJP parties in Assam for the 2016 Assembly polls, but the Congress had rejected the idea then.

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