Assam’s Opposition accuses AIUDF for selling five lawmakers to BJP


Assam’s Opposition Congress has accused All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) of “selling" of its lawmakers to benefit the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies in the elections to two Rajya Sabha seats. This comes days after AIUDF pledged support for Congress’s Ripun Bora. The voting is scheduled for Thursday. BJP has nominated Pabitra Margherita for one seat and left the other for ally United Peoples Party Liberal’s Rwngwra Narzary. A lawmaker each from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI (M) and Raijor Dal are supporting Bora.

“We joined hands with AIUDF for the polls for the sake of Opposition unity against the BJP. But a few days back AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal expressed doubts about the integrity of five of our lawmakers and said they could side with the BJP,” said Assam Congress chief Bhupen Kumar Borah. “I can guarantee that all 26 Congress lawmakers and one legislator each from CPI (M) and Raijor Dal will vote for our candidate. But five lawmakers from AIUDF have been sold [to the BJP] and Ajmal is directly involved. He tried to mislead all by casting aspersions on Congress lawmakers.” Borah accused AIUDF of betrayal. He added AIUDF tried to field its agent for the polls without consulting Congress and attempted to blackmail them. “The election agent informed me a few days back through my general secretary that he will not vote for the Congress candidate.”

In Assam, a candidate needs 43 votes to get elected. BJP and its allies have 83 out of 126 votes in the assembly. The numbers are enough for Margherita to get elected. But Narzary is short of three votes.

Congress (26), AIUDF (15), CPI (M), and Raijor Dal have 43 votes. A suspended Congress lawmaker is expected to vote for BJP and its ally.

AIUDF leader Aminul Islam rejected the allegations and said they have been levelled to sully their image .“We are astonished by the baseless allegations. We were hearing about differences within the Congress on Bora’s selection. Some of the Congress leaders are working to defeat him. The immature accusations have confirmed this.” AIUDF earlier agreed to support Congress in return for backing in the next Rajya Sabha polls. “We stand committed to our support and all 15 lawmakers will vote for Bora on Thursday. The results will reveal who is the real betrayer.”

BJP leader Dilip Saikia said the allegations show there is no unity among Opposition parties. “There are various factions within Congress and despite a deal, they are suspicious of AIUDF.” He said the BJP does not indulge in unethical tactics of buying or selling votes. “Our chief minister has good relations with many Opposition lawmakers...we are sure of getting the required votes to ensure that both our candidates win.”

(Except for the headline and the pictorial description, this story has not been edited by THE DEN staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)