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AIUDF to draw blank raising questions over Badruddin Ajmal’s political relevance

AIUDF to draw blank raising questions over Badruddin Ajmal’s political relevance

Despite being a prominent figure with significant Muslim support in Assam, the India Today Axis My India Exit Poll suggests a potential setback for Ajmal's party indicating a tough electoral fight ahead.

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AIUDF to draw blank raising questions over Badruddin Ajmal’s political relevance AIUDF to draw blank raising questions over Badruddin Ajmal’s political relevance

According to the India Today Axis My India Exit Poll in the Lok Sabha Election 2024, the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), led by Badruddin Ajmal is projected to draw a blank in the electoral battle, sparking concerns over Ajmal’s political relevance.

Despite being a prominent figure with significant Muslim support in Assam, the India Today Axis My India Exit Poll suggests a potential setback for Ajmal's party indicating a tough electoral fight ahead.

Badruddin Ajmal, the chief of AIUDF, who has represented the Dhubri Lok Sabha seat for three consecutive terms, now faces uncertainty in his stronghold.

AIUDF has experienced a significant decline in support, particularly among Assamese-speaking Muslims, with over 60% now backing the Congress in recent elections. Meanwhile, around 35% of Bengali-speaking Muslims, who once split their support between Congress and AIUDF, have also drifted away from AIUDF.

Founded in 2005, AIUDF emerged as a significant force representing the interests of Bengali-speaking Muslims amid communal strife with local tribes like the Bodos. The party positioned itself as an alternative to Congress, which governed Assam from 2001 to 2016, by advocating for the Bengali Muslim community who often faced accusations of being "illegal migrants."

AIUDF's decline contrasts sharply with its rapid rise until the 2014 parliamentary elections. Back then, the party capitalized on the disenchantment of Bengali Muslims who felt unprotected by Congress. However, the AIUDF's core support base is now eroding, partly due to perceptions that its leader, Badruddin Ajmal, is too closely associated with protecting Bangladeshi migrants, making life more challenging for the community.

The politics of Assam have long revolved around the issue of illegal migration from Bangladesh, a concern heightened by the recent update of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). This register aims to differentiate genuine Indian citizens from undocumented migrants, requiring proof of citizenship predating March 24, 1971.

AIUDF has faced criticism for allegedly playing communal politics. Since the BJP came to power in Assam and nationally, AIUDF has been labeled as the BJP's 'B team' by opposition parties, including Congress. Additionally, Akhil Gogoi, president of Raijor Dal, has been a vocal critic of Ajmal and AIUDF.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, AIUDF secured three seats: Badruddin Ajmal in Dhubri, Sirajuddin Ajmal in Barpeta, and Radheshyam Biswas in Karimganj. However, by 2019, the party managed to win only one seat, with Ajmal retaining his position in Dhubri. The 2021 state elections saw Congress ally with AIUDF, but the partnership did not prevent Congress from facing setbacks.

Ajmal's leadership has also been questioned due to his erratic behavior during campaign rallies, such as throwing a microphone and raising his hands against party members. Despite these challenges, AIUDF has remained a notable presence in Assam's political scene since its establishment in 2005, initially as the Assam United Democratic Front (AUDF) before rebranding in 2009. The party's electoral performance has fluctuated, securing 10 seats in the 2006 Assembly elections, 18 in 2011, 13 in 2016, and 16 as part of an alliance in 2021. Yet, its diminishing influence in the Lok Sabha elections reflects its ongoing struggles.

The exit poll data offers a glimpse into the potential outcomes of Assam's Lok Sabha elections, indicating a notable trend of BJP's strength in the state's political landscape. According to the projections, BJP is expected to secure victories in key regions.

In Lower Assam, the exit poll suggests a mixed outcome, with BJP projected to secure one out of the total four Lok Sabha seats. Congress is anticipated to win two seats, while one seat is predicted to go to BJP allies. Similarly, in Middle Assam, BJP is projected to emerge victorious in three out of four seats, leaving just one for Congress.

The Upper Assam region is poised to witness a significant BJP sweep, with the party projected to clinch all three Lok Sabha seats. Despite close contests in Jorhat and Karimganj, BJP maintains an edge in these areas, as indicated by the exit poll data.

Furthermore, the exit poll predicts BJP's dominance in Assam's Hills and Barak Valley regions, with the party expected to win all three seats in these areas.

Edited By: Bikash Chetry
Published On: Jun 02, 2024