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Ajmal sees greater role at national level

By The Assam Tribune

GUWAHATI, May 11 - AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal views a greater role for his party at the national stage after the Assam elections and plans to campaign in the Uttar Pradesh polls next year as part of a �grand alliance� with the JD(U) and RJD.

�Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has already invited me to be a part of the grand alliance and I have responded positively,� he told PTI in an interview. �Nitish Kumar has also asked me to join hands with them for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls and I have consented to campaign in the state, particularly in the minority-dominated areas,� he said.

The AIUDF will, however, chalk out its strategy for the national stage only after the results of the Assam polls, the MP from Dhubri said. The largest opposition party with 18 seats in the outgoing Assam Assembly, the AIUDF has already formed an alliance with the JD(U) and RJD although these two parties do not have any significant presence in the State.

�We definitely have plans to play a constructive role at the national level but our party�s primary focus will be on the allround development of Assam and people of all communities in the State,� the AIUDF chief said.

Assam�s problems remain a priority and �I have already raised the foreigners issue and the problem of flood and erosion in the ongoing session of Parliament,� he said. �I will soon meet Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti to discuss the issue of floods in the State. The Brahmaputra has to be controlled and we will continue our pressure on the Centre to declare floods a national calamity,� he said.

�Unless floods are declared a national calamity, sufficient funds will not be sanctioned to tackle the issue and the problem will continue to persist and haunt us,� Ajmal said, adding, the Congress government in Assam has done nothing to solve this issue and unless the problem of flood is solved there can be no development.

�I have also taken the initiative for the bridge from Dhubri in Assam to Phulbari in Meghalaya and Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has already announced that it will be constructed and this is going to be a mega-project,� he said.

Asked about allegations that he is in politics to protect his business interests in the State, the perfume baron said of his entire family business �only one per cent is in Assam, while five per cent in other parts of the country and the remaining 95 per cent at the international level.�

Ajmal said, �How can my business gain by my being in politics in the State. This is a false propaganda by the Congress and in fact, they have tried to harm my business on many occasions. I am in politics for the people of Assam and have for years played the role of a responsible opposition party in the State.�

Asked about allegations by the sole woman MLA (Gul Akhtara Begum from Bilasipara-East) of the party in the outgoing Assembly that the AIUDF was not a women-friendly party, he said she was claiming that now as she was denied ticket for the polls.

�I brought her into politics... From being a housewife, she became an MLA. I did assure her that she will get the ticket for the next parliamentary polls, but she went ahead and joined the Congress. We give tickets to deserving candidates and many women are contesting the Assembly polls this time from our party,� he added.

Asked about the Opposition attacking the AIUDF as a family-centric party, he said besides him it was only his brother and one of his sons who are in politics. �There are so many members in our family and in our next generation, there are at least 25 members and only one is in politics. Members of my family are free to practice whatever profession they wish,� he added. � PTI

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