GUWAHATI, April 22 - Both Congress and AIUDF are of the opinion that minority community voters will go for �tactical voting� to ensure the defeat of candidates of the ruling NDA in constituencies like Dhubri and Barpeta which will go to the polls in the third round of the Lok Sabha elections tomorrow.
However, each party claims that it will be the sole beneficiary of such tactical voting by the minorities.
Of the four constituencies of Assam going to the elections in the third phase, Dhubri and Barpeta are minority-dominated, while Guwahati and Kokrajhar also have significant numbers of minority voters.
In both Dhubri and Barpeta, AIUDF and Congress are locked in three-concerned contests, with NDA constituent AGP being the third major contender.
�It is hundred per cent sure that minority community voters will go for tactical voting. Till two-three days ago the situation was fluid, but there has been a noticeable change in the ground level scenario, especially in Barpeta, since then and there is a distinctive turn in favour of the AIUDF. Minority community voters will opt for us to prevent victory of NDA candidates,� said a senior AIUDF leader.
He claimed that since announcement of the polls, AIUDF was way ahead in the race in Dhubri, where party president and sitting MP Badruddin Ajmal is in the fray.
�However, initially we were a bit apprehensive regarding Barpeta. We were expecting a triangular contest due to division in minority votes. But over the last two days, we are witnessing a shift among minority voters in favour of our candidate Rafiqul Islam,� said the AIUDF leader.
He added, �Tactical voting will happen. Minorities will take care to ensure that their votes do not get split.�
The leader also claimed that Karimganj constituency, which went to the polls in the second phase on April 18, also witnessed such tactical voting by minorities against the NDA and in favour of the AIUDF.
On the other hand, the Congress claimed that the minority community electorate are behind it and so any tactical voting will benefit it.
�There will be no split in the minority votes. Barring some AIUDF party workers and hardcore supporters, the remaining 90 per cent of the �floating voters� among the minorities will support us,� said an office-bearer of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee.
Admitting the likelihood of tactical voting by minority community voters, he claimed that Congress is the better option for such voters.
�Minorities are apprehensive due to communal polarisation which has taken place under the Narendra Modi government... Congress is a national party which can fight against communal forces like the BJP. Therefore, the minorities of Assam will vote for Congress this time as we offer a viable alternative to the BJP. Minorities are politically very alert. This time they will look at the party and not at the candidate,� added the Congress leader.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the AIUDF had managed to secure support from a huge segment of the minority community voters and the party had won from three constituencies � Dhubri, Barpeta and Karimganj.
However, AIUDF suffered some setbacks in minority-dominated areas during last year�s panchayat elections, while the Congress was able to regain some of its old support base among the minorities.
This time, AIUDF has fielded candidates from only the three Lok Sabha seats which it had won in the last General Elections. The Congress is also contesting those seats and there is a race between both the parties to garner the maximum share of the votes from the minority community.