GUWAHATI, April 17 - Dismissing speculations about consolidation of minority votes in favour of Congress during the voting for the Assembly elections, the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) has claimed that it has succeeded in holding on to its base among the minority voters.
Senior AIUDF leaders told The Assam Tribune that the party is confident of winning a substantial number of seats in the polls.
�We will win a substantial number of constituencies. The minority consolidation has been in our favour,� AIUDF general secretary and party spokesperson Champak Kalita told this newspaper.
He said the party is confident of wresting a number of seats from the Congress in the minority-dominated constituencies of the Barak Valley and has also made major inroads in the North Bank areas.
�We will win a minimum of six seats in the Barak Valley. There has been minority consolidation in our favour in the Barak Valley. Similarly, we are sure of winning from the Naoboicha constituency in the North Bank. We will also win at least two other seats in the North Bank. We have performed well in Tezpur, Rangapara and Mazbat. In Dhekiajuli also, we have been able to gain a major chunk of tea tribe votes, besides our traditional support among minorities,� said Kalita.
He added that in the Lower Assam belt and BTAD areas, the party has bright prospects in Dalgaon, Kalaigaon, Mangaldai, Kokrajhar West, Gossaigaon, Bilasipara West, Goalpara East, Jaleswar, South Salmara, Dhubri, Jania, Chenga, Baghbor, Rupohihat, Dhing, Lumding and Jamunamukh, among other seats.
�We are also in contention in Hojai, Boko, Bilasipara East, Barpeta, Goalpara West and Golakganj, where we are locked in tough fight with our opponents,� Kalita said.
He added that the party, long known for its support base among Bengali-speaking Muslims, has made some inroads among indigenous communities.
�In constituencies like Raha and Mangaldai, our support among indigenous communities have increased to a large extent,� said the leader.
Meanwhile, some other AIUDF leaders have admitted that in certain areas of the State, minority voters have indeed shifted to the Congress.
�Wherever there has been triangular contest between the AIUDF, BJP and Congress, there has been tactical voting from the minorities to ensure that the saffron party is not able to gain advantage. This has been noticed in Hajo, Barhampur, Barkhetri and Nagaon, among other constituencies,� said another AIUDF leader.
Asked if AIUDF is likely to enter into a tie-up with the BJP-led alliance after election results are out on May 19, leaders from the Badruddin Ajmal-led outfit categorically ruled out any such possibility.
�With almost 35 per cent Muslim population in Assam, such a step would be nothing short of suicidal. We all know the present condition of the PDP in Jammu & Kashmir after it allied with the BJP. We do not fancy a similar situation for us,� said a party leader.
AIUDF had won 18 seats in the 2011 Assembly polls and emerged as the biggest opposition party in the Assam Legislative Assembly. It also won three of the 14 Lok Sabha seats from Assam during the 2014 Parliamentary polls.
In the aftermath of the recent voting for the Assembly polls, many Congress leaders have claimed that the grand old party has been able to wean away minority votes from the AIUDF.