Cong, AIUDF discount any real threat from the two new entitie

Pranjal Bhuyan

GUWAHATI, March 20: Regional entrants Raijor Dal and Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) are aiming to put up a good show in constituencies having a significant proportion of minority community electorate in the forthcoming Assembly polls.

Senior leaders of the two newly-floated regional parties said that the Muslim voters of Assam have started looking for alternatives to the Congress and the AIUDF, which have been the major forces in the minority-dominated areas of the State for long.

“We have so far received a very good response in seats where minority community voters form a significant segment of the electorate. Our party is in the fray in many such constituencies spread across central Assam, lower Assam and the Barak Valley. What we have found is that the voters belonging to the minority community are fed up with the kind of politics being practised for so many years by the Congress and the AIUDF. The minority community has realised that the Congress and the AIUDF have been using them as mere ‘vote banks’ during elections,” Raijor Dal working president Jitul Deka told The Assam Tribune on Saturday.

He claimed that the Muslim voters of Assam are totally disenchanted with the traditional parties like the Congress and the AIUDF.

“The Congress was in power for a long time but it failed to address the basic needs of the minority community. The condition of the common Muslim citizens did not improve and the development process bypassed the minority-dominated areas. AIUDF’s brand of politics also did nothing to benefit the Muslims of Assam. The minority community voters are now looking for a serious alternative and they are turning to us,” Deka said.

He added that the Akhil Gogoi-led party is confident of performing well in seats having significant presence of voters belonging to the minority community.

While Deka did not name the constituencies from where the Raijor Dal is expecting victory, other sources in the newly-floated outfit said that the party is confident of winning from seats like Bilasipara West, Bhabanipur, Jania and Gauripur among others.

The AJP is also confident of putting up a good fight in some constituencies having substantial numbers of Muslim voters.

“While our party is focusing more in the upper Assam belt, we have fielded strong candidates in some seats which are either dominated by the minorities or have significant presence of minority community voters. Among others, we are confident of doing well in Rupohihat, Katigora, Jamunamukh, Hajo, Golakganj and Abhayapuri North,” said a senior AJP leader.

However, the Congress and the AIUDF discounted the possibility of any threat to them in the minority-dominated seats from the two new regional parties.

“I do not believe that the Raijor Dal or the AJP will be major players in the minority-dominated constituencies. They may get some votes in such places, but that will not be enough either to win any seats for themselves in the minority-dominated areas or to hurt the prospects of our party,” said AIUDF general secretary (organisation) Aminul Islam.

He said that the newly-floated parties lack proper organisational structure and mass base.

“There is only hype about them in the media. The Raijor Dal has even failed to get recognition from the Election Commission and its candidates are contesting the Assembly polls as Independents. While it is true that some individual nominees of both the Raijor Dal and the AJP may secure a chunk of votes in a few minority-dominated constituencies, their overall impact will be negligible. Organisationally they are not much visible on the ground in seats where Muslim voters constitute a substantial segment of the electorate,” State Congress secretary Gauravv Somani said.