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Rift in Cong over ties with AIUDF

By KALYAN BAROOAH
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NEW DELHI, March 27 - Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, rift has surfaced in Assam Congress, with a section of the party leaders opposing an alleged attempt to opt for an understanding with Badruddin Ajmal-led AIUDF.

In the backdrop of the ongoing rumblings between the two factions, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) on Wednesday postponed the scheduled meeting of the party election committee to Thursday.

Both State president Ripun Bora and State Opposition leader Debabrata Saikia have now been summoned to Delhi to take part in a party poll panel meeting to select the candidates for four parliamentary constituencies of lower Assam � Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Barpeta and Guwahati.

Sources said that the meeting, scheduled on Wednesday, was to decide the candidates for the four constituencies, but differences between Bora and Saikia, who threatened to file a dissent note, prompted the AICC leadership to summon both to Delhi.

A senior party leader said despite a resolution passed by the APCC opposing any alliance with the AIUDF, a section has started negotiations with Ajmal. At the centre of the controversy are the two constituencies of Dhubri and Barpeta that were last won by the AIUDF.

A party leader said the AIUDF supremo has roped in Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind president Mehmood Madani to persuade the AICC to nominate candidates of Ajmal�s choice. But an AICC leader said that they have rejected the proposal in light of the initial objection of the State leadership.

Sources close to AICC general secretary in-charge for Assam, Harish Rawat, who is currently campaigning in Uttarakhand, also confirmed that there will be no alliance with the AIUDF.

However, a section has come to an understanding to nominate a political lightweight Abdul Rezzak to help Badruddin Ajmal retain his Dhubri seat. Ajmal is also after the Congress leadership to nominate a weak candidate in the Barpeta constituency.

The AIUDF is contesting in only three Lok Sabha seats in the State � Dhubri, Barpeta and Karimganj. This has led to a sharp opposition within the State Congress, with the rival group alleging that the quid pro quo was that Ajmal would not field candidates in rest of the seats, particularly Nagaon, Kaliabor, Mangaldoi and other minority-dominated constituencies, to prevent split in the Muslim votes.

Sources alleged that former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, once a vocal critic of Ajmal, is also silent. The Kaliabor seat from where his son and Lok Sabha MP Gaurav Gogoi is contesting has a sizeable minority population. Same is the case with the neighbouring Nagaon seat from where Pradyut Bordoloi is contesting.

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Rift in Cong over ties with AIUDF

NEW DELHI, March 27 - Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, rift has surfaced in Assam Congress, with a section of the party leaders opposing an alleged attempt to opt for an understanding with Badruddin Ajmal-led AIUDF.

In the backdrop of the ongoing rumblings between the two factions, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) on Wednesday postponed the scheduled meeting of the party election committee to Thursday.

Both State president Ripun Bora and State Opposition leader Debabrata Saikia have now been summoned to Delhi to take part in a party poll panel meeting to select the candidates for four parliamentary constituencies of lower Assam � Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Barpeta and Guwahati.

Sources said that the meeting, scheduled on Wednesday, was to decide the candidates for the four constituencies, but differences between Bora and Saikia, who threatened to file a dissent note, prompted the AICC leadership to summon both to Delhi.

A senior party leader said despite a resolution passed by the APCC opposing any alliance with the AIUDF, a section has started negotiations with Ajmal. At the centre of the controversy are the two constituencies of Dhubri and Barpeta that were last won by the AIUDF.

A party leader said the AIUDF supremo has roped in Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind president Mehmood Madani to persuade the AICC to nominate candidates of Ajmal�s choice. But an AICC leader said that they have rejected the proposal in light of the initial objection of the State leadership.

Sources close to AICC general secretary in-charge for Assam, Harish Rawat, who is currently campaigning in Uttarakhand, also confirmed that there will be no alliance with the AIUDF.

However, a section has come to an understanding to nominate a political lightweight Abdul Rezzak to help Badruddin Ajmal retain his Dhubri seat. Ajmal is also after the Congress leadership to nominate a weak candidate in the Barpeta constituency.

The AIUDF is contesting in only three Lok Sabha seats in the State � Dhubri, Barpeta and Karimganj. This has led to a sharp opposition within the State Congress, with the rival group alleging that the quid pro quo was that Ajmal would not field candidates in rest of the seats, particularly Nagaon, Kaliabor, Mangaldoi and other minority-dominated constituencies, to prevent split in the Muslim votes.

Sources alleged that former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, once a vocal critic of Ajmal, is also silent. The Kaliabor seat from where his son and Lok Sabha MP Gaurav Gogoi is contesting has a sizeable minority population. Same is the case with the neighbouring Nagaon seat from where Pradyut Bordoloi is contesting.