In Lower Assam, Ajmal is a big factor

In Lower Assam, Ajmal is a big factor

Over 34% voters are Muslims; lion's share among them speak Bengali

In Lower Assam, Ajmal is a big factor

Samsul Islam, 55, lives in Jurai, a small village near the West Bengal and Assam border. 

On Tuesday, he walked about 10 km to reach Srirampur border check gate in Kokrajhar district of lower Assam and then hitched a ride to Telipara in Gossaigaon subdivision of Kokrajhar to listen and see a very renowned Muslim cleric. The venue was, however, no religious gathering but a political rally.

“I have my vote in west Bengal but I am here to see Maulana Badaruddin Ajmal. I need his blessings for my ailing daughter. At least hundred Muslim from Bengal have come here to seek his blessings,” said Islam.

But for over 10,000 people who had gathered since morning, the wait was to see their Huzoor (a Persian word used in Muslim society), as he is fondly called by his followers. In the second phase on Assam polls due on April 11, where remaining 61 seats of the 126 total constituencies will go for polls, the perfume baron who also is a Muslim-cleric-turned politician, Ajmal, and his party – the All India United democratic Front (AIUDF) would play a major role.

The Bengali Muslim dominated lower Assam – often referred as illegal migrants from Bangladesh form the support base for the party. 

The party emerged in ahead of 2006 Assembly polls and in 2011 Assembly polls, the party became the main opposition party in state Assembly winning 18 seats.
 “For us candidate does not matter. It is Ajmal who matters. In Bodoland after 2012 riots, he has been nothing short of a god man for us. He has helped the people who were displaced in the riots. He has helped rebuild schools and colleges. He fights for us in Parliament” said Imdadul Haq who came from Kachugaon in Kokrajhar.

In spite of thunder showers, people kept waiting for him, as his chopper arrived ,everyone ran to catch a glimpse. “In fact he performs sorcery for the well being of his followers,” said Rafikul Rehman, a farmer from Tamarhat area of neighbouring Dhubri district.

“The BJP and its allies are trying to destroy us but we will remain intact. We will fight together and make sure the BJP is kept out of power. Remember that we would be kingmaker, no one can form government without us,” Ajmal, who is an MP from Dhubri in lower Assam, is also contesting the Assembly polls from Salmara (South) seat giving clear indications that he is eyeing power this time around.

Over 34% voters in Assam are Muslims, the lion share among them are the Bengali speaking Muslims.

The BJP has tried to put up an alliance for the ‘indigenous’ people of Assam to stop the shifting of power in the hand of alleged illegal migrants.

In the 2014 lok sabha polls AIUDF has won three seats out of 14 in Assam , and BJP’s anti-migrant discourse will help Ajmal’s political fortunes.

 

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