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AIUDF looks towards Trinamool Congress in Assam

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Press Trust of India Guwahati
The AIUDF led by perfume baron Badruddin Ajmal is actively considering to lend its support to Trinamool Congress candidates in the Lok Sabha polls in Assam, a day after the Congress fielded strong candidates against AIUDF in two constituencies.
The process has already begun and Ajmal spoke to senior TMC leader Derek O'Brien on Saturday, while a meeting may be arranged with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and a decision of alliance may be announced anytime soon, an AIUDF source said.
As soon as the Congress on Friday announced "strong" candidates for Barpeta and Dhubri constituencies, in which AIUDF were contesting, Ajmal rushed to New Delhi leaving behind his campaigns at Barak valley midway.
AIUDF sources told PTI that Ajmal met senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel twice on Friday to find a way out of the stalemate and a move in "reciprocation" of the gesture shown in rest of the seats in Assam, but no positive outcome has come yet.
"Patel informed us that if Congress had given weak candidates, then BJP's allegation of an alliance between Congress and AIUDF will be established. This will drive away the Hindu votes from the Congress," the AIUDF source added.
Congress Friday fielded its MLA Abdul Khaleque for Barpeta and ex-MLA Abu Taher Bepari for Dhubri in the Lok Sabha polls, Swarup Das was announced as Karimganj candidate earlier.
The Congress is contesting all the 14 seats in Assam.
Ajmal earlier had announced that this time his party will contest only Dhubri, Barpeta and Kamringanj seats, from where it has the three sitting MPs, while AIUDF had fielded candidates in 10 of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Assam in 2014.
This move by Ajmal to field candidates in only three seats has led to a volley of allegations from the BJP that AIUDF and Congress have a covert understanding, mainly to help the son of former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Gaurav win for the second time from Kaliabor.
According to sources, Ajmal was expecting a "goodwill gesture in return" from the Congress by way of leaving the Barpeta and Dhubri, from where Ajmal is contesting to retain seat.
"Congress has not only announced candidates, but two very strong candidates in fact. We did our best to avoid a split in the anti-BJP votes. We are in the UPA for the last 10 years and also a part of the 'mahagathbandhan'. The need of the hour was to stop BJP at any cost," the AIUDF source said.
The Congress action has compelled us to think if BJP is closer to them than any anti-BJP party and their slogan now seems to be "AIUDF hatao, not BJP hatao," he added.
"Now the question has come to the very existence of our party. So, we are thinking in a different line. We are actively considering to lend its full support behind the other 'mahagathbandhan' party -- Tranamool Congress. We are looking to speak to Mamata Banerjee tonight," the source said.
TMC Assam unit chief Gopi Nath Das said no discussion with AIUDF has taken place yet in the state, but he is not aware about any development at the Central level of the party.
TMC is contesting in nine Lok Sabha constituencies in Assam in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
The BJP had won seven out of 14 Lok Sabha seats in the 2014 election, the Congress and the AIUDF had three MPs each and one member was an Independent.

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First Published: Mar 30 2019 | 7:25 PM IST

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