Assam Assembly polls | BJP campaign focused on attacking Ajmal

Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma says chief of All India United Democratic Front wants to become CM

Perfume baron Badruddin Ajmal appears to be the flavour of the poll season for rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In campaign after campaign, the saffron party has attacked Mr. Ajmal, president of the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and a Lok Sabha member. The AIUDF is a constituent of the 10-party Mahajot or grand alliance headed by the Congress in Assam.

Campaigning for his party candidate in Barhampur on Wednesday, the State’s Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma devoted much of his speech to the AIUDF chief.

“Congress has joined hands with Ajmal to form the next government with him. Congress sold out to him for the lust of power. Can we accept his ideology?” he asked.

Referring to a video where Mr. Ajmal allegedly said women should give birth to as many children as possible, Dr. Sarma said: “He is not bothered about the health of women. His sole objective is to become the Chief Minister of Assam at any cost.”

Mr. Ajmal had a few days ago said he never was and never would be in the race for the Chief Minister’s chair. He had also made it clear that the AIUDF agreed to join the grand alliance to avoid a split in the anti-BJP and secular votes.

The combined vote share of Congress and AIUDF was more in 14 seats that the BJP or its ally Asom Gana Parishad had won in the 2016 elections.

Continuing his attack, Dr. Sarma slammed the AIUDF chief for promising to reopen the madrasas if the Mahajot wins the three-phase election ending April 6.

“Ajmal wants to reopen the madrasas. Should people become doctors and engineers or mullahs and maulvis?” the Minister said.

The Sarbananda Sonowal government had two months ago enacted a law to convert 729 State-run primary, upper primary, high and higher secondary madrasas into general schools.

“We have to protect Assam. Voting for Congress will mean inviting Ajmal to Dispur [Assam’s seat of power]. If he captures power, the Assamese people will not be able to hold their heads high,” Dr. Sarma said.

Mr. Ajmal had in an interview used a Bengali proverb — “Jato dosh, Nando Ghosh” — to explain the BJP’s obsession with him. The adage literally means: “Blame Nando Ghosh for every ill or for everything that goes wrong”.

“It is easy to cover up for governance failure in Assam. Just blame it on Badruddin Ajmal and sell his fear by painting him as a representative of Bangladeshis or illegal migrants or Mughals or whatever,” he said.

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