GUWAHATI, Jan 29 - Even as the State�s political atmosphere has become charged over the reported remark by Badruddin Ajmal calling upon Muslims to unite, the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) has said it in fact wants to expand its reach beyond the traditional support base among the minority voters and is all ready to admit a number of senior Congress leaders belonging to the Hindu community.
Senior AIUDF leaders told The Assam Tribune that the joining of former Bihar Governor and Assam minister Devananda Konwar is only the beginning and many other Congress leaders are in talks with the Ajmal-led party.
�Many senior Congress leaders, who are from the majority community, are in touch with us. Talks are on and we expect at least some of them to join the AIUDF in the run-up to the forthcoming Assembly polls. In addition, some tribal leaders, including one from the Rabha community, are also keen to join our party,� claimed a senior AIUDF office bearer.
He, however, refused to identify the leaders who are in touch with the AIUDF. �But let me make it clear that all of them have some base in their respective areas. They are not leaders of the intellectual or �think-thank� variety,� he added.
The AIUDF, which won 18 Assembly seats during the 2011 polls and emerged as the principal opposition to the Congress in Assam, is seeking to expand beyond its traditional support base.
�No doubt Bengali-speaking Muslims constitute our main support base. But if we have to succeed in our mission to become a major force, we will have to reach out to other communities as well. That is why we are interested in welcoming leaders from the Congress and other parties belonging to the majority community, who have some base among the masses,� he said.
The leader added, �At the moment, only our chief Badruddin Ajmal has a face which is recognised by the electorate across the State. So we need more leaders, who are not from the minority community, so that the AIUDF can get a foothold in places like Upper Assam and the north bank.�
Asked if Konwar will be the face of the party in Upper Assam and among the Hindu community, the AIUDF office bearer said, �No, it will not be like that. Just because he is a former Governor and a former minister does not mean we will portray him as the only face from the majority community. We have other leaders like Aditya Langthasa who are not Muslim.�