Guwahati: The much talked about –‘grand alliance’ of Congress and Badruddin Ajmal’s All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) has finally split. The alliance that started in the beginning of 2021, did not even survive a year. Thanks to Congress who has recently decided to part its way from AIUDF and oust it from the grand alliance ‘unilaterally’. The reason, according to Congress, was AIUDF leader’s ‘pro-BJP’ statements.
However, for AIUDF it was nothing but an ‘unfortunate’ decision by Congress as they believed that no opposition in Assam can come to power without AIUDF’s support. In the last state polls, the grand alliance won 50 seats out of 126 in the Assembly elections, with the Congress winning 29 and the AIUDF 16, followed by the BPF (4) and CPM (1).
Why the break-up?
Though a section of political experts believed that Congress’ reason for snapping ties with AIUDF was a bit ‘irrational’ citing the need of a united Opposition against the ruling BJP, Congress said that it’s just a ‘dress rehearsal’ to the next elections.
According to them, the Congress has more than one advantage. “During the last assembly polls, the BJP had polarised the whole campaigning by targeting Congress for allying with AIUDF. Due to which, the party had suffered in Upper Assam seats. Now with three out of five seats where bypolls will be held in Upper Assam, Congress can target to regain its grip,” said a party insider.
Bypolls were due for the Upper Assam seats of Mariani, Majuli and Thowra, apart from Tamulpur and Gossaigaon in Kokrajhar by the end of this year. While Mariani is in Jorhat, the home ground of former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi; Majuli was vacated by former Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Thowra is in Sivasagar (district), which wass the Ahom capital.
“Congress’ voting in all these seats had found to be impacted somehow believed to be due to the pre-poll alliance with AIUDF. The idea of grand alliance was not to favour any party or community but to capture the anti BJP sentiments across the state,” the party leader added.
Will it affect Congress’ votes in Minority areas?
Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) chief Bhupen Borah said that since the bypoll results wouldn’t impact in government formation, so the party would like to take its chances to contest the poll by itself to boost the morale of its ground workers.
He said, “Since the result of the bypolls is not going to change the government, party workers believe it should be a test for the party to regain its strength by its own. The party aims to regain its strength in not only in these couple of seats but in all 126 seats for the next polls.”
Though there were speculations that the splitting of the tie with AIUDF may hamper Congress’ position in the minority dominated areas of the state, the national party has a different formula for that. “Even the minorities are aware that only Congress can uproot the BJP regime. So it should not impact Congress electorally much but the party needs to work hard,” party sources added.
Besides, the Congress has been trying to garner the support of regional forces like Akhil Gogoi led Raijor Dal too.