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Shadow of AIUDF alliance haunts Cong

By Kalyan Barooah
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NEW DELHI, March 28 - The Congress Election Committee (CEC) meeting on Thursday remained inconclusive as it could not finalise the candidates for the remaining four seats in lower Assam, even as Congress president Rahul Gandhi took serious exception to the move to nominate �weak candidates� in certain constituencies.

Today�s meeting of the CEC chaired by the Congress president sought clarification from Assam Congress president Ripun Bora and State Opposition leader Debabrata Saikia whether Congress has decided to go for an alliance with Badruddin Ajmal led AIUDF.

The meeting was also attended by Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh and general secretary KC Venugopal among others.

At the centre of the controversy was also a note purportedly written by AICC general secretary Harish Rawat to the CEC that got leaked and is now widely in circulation in social media. Rawat did not attend the meeting today, as he was away campaigning in Uttrakhand.

AICC sources disclosed that the CEC today directed the State leaders to review the candidates. AICC general secretary, KC Venugopal later held a meeting with Bora and Saikia that lasted till late in the evening.

Sources disclosed that Rawat�s leaked note said that in the Screening Committee meeting held on March 23, the following candidates have been finalised including Abdur Rezzak (Dhubri), Durga Das Boro (Kokrajhar), Abdur Rouf (Barpeta) and Romen Borthakur (Guwahati).

However, as discussions progressed, Gandhi wondered why weak candidates were being fielded in Dhubri and Barpeta. He also wondered why Assam Congress has suddenly decided to tie up with Ajmal.

Sources said that the issue of alienating the indigenous Assamese community by forging an understanding with Ajmal also figured at the meeting.

Meanwhile, when this Correspondent contacted Harish Rawat, he clarified that couple of similar notes were in circulation and denied that such a note was ever written. The note is fake, said Rawat distancing himself.

Meanwhile, emerging from the meeting Ripun Bora told newsmen that there will be further discussion. He claimed that there is no alliance with AIUDF. �The Congress Party will contest in all the 14 seats and we are not bothered with how many seats AIUDF is contesting,� Bora said.

�We have not asked AIUDF to leave any seats for us. AIUDF is spinning stories because they do not have candidates. We will not field weak candidates, as we always field the best candidate. AICC will announce the final list of candidates,� added Borah.

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Shadow of AIUDF alliance haunts Cong

NEW DELHI, March 28 - The Congress Election Committee (CEC) meeting on Thursday remained inconclusive as it could not finalise the candidates for the remaining four seats in lower Assam, even as Congress president Rahul Gandhi took serious exception to the move to nominate �weak candidates� in certain constituencies.

Today�s meeting of the CEC chaired by the Congress president sought clarification from Assam Congress president Ripun Bora and State Opposition leader Debabrata Saikia whether Congress has decided to go for an alliance with Badruddin Ajmal led AIUDF.

The meeting was also attended by Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh and general secretary KC Venugopal among others.

At the centre of the controversy was also a note purportedly written by AICC general secretary Harish Rawat to the CEC that got leaked and is now widely in circulation in social media. Rawat did not attend the meeting today, as he was away campaigning in Uttrakhand.

AICC sources disclosed that the CEC today directed the State leaders to review the candidates. AICC general secretary, KC Venugopal later held a meeting with Bora and Saikia that lasted till late in the evening.

Sources disclosed that Rawat�s leaked note said that in the Screening Committee meeting held on March 23, the following candidates have been finalised including Abdur Rezzak (Dhubri), Durga Das Boro (Kokrajhar), Abdur Rouf (Barpeta) and Romen Borthakur (Guwahati).

However, as discussions progressed, Gandhi wondered why weak candidates were being fielded in Dhubri and Barpeta. He also wondered why Assam Congress has suddenly decided to tie up with Ajmal.

Sources said that the issue of alienating the indigenous Assamese community by forging an understanding with Ajmal also figured at the meeting.

Meanwhile, when this Correspondent contacted Harish Rawat, he clarified that couple of similar notes were in circulation and denied that such a note was ever written. The note is fake, said Rawat distancing himself.

Meanwhile, emerging from the meeting Ripun Bora told newsmen that there will be further discussion. He claimed that there is no alliance with AIUDF. �The Congress Party will contest in all the 14 seats and we are not bothered with how many seats AIUDF is contesting,� Bora said.

�We have not asked AIUDF to leave any seats for us. AIUDF is spinning stories because they do not have candidates. We will not field weak candidates, as we always field the best candidate. AICC will announce the final list of candidates,� added Borah.