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AIUDF to shed ‘minority’ tag

- Party to field more non-Muslims

Hojai, Dec. 3: The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) is looking to shrug off its image of being a minority party by giving tickets to candidates of different communities in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Party chief Maulana Badruddin Ajmal told The Telegraph he did not want the people to brand AIUDF as another version of the Muslim League. He said since its birth, his party has been trying to represent all castes, communities and religions.

“But somehow a section of people, some organisations and a few other political parties are relentlessly branding AIUDF as the political platform only for minorities. Such a perception is not only wrong but also shows the people’s ignorance about my party. AIUDF needs an image makeover. In next year’s polls, we will field more non-Muslim candidates. The number of non-Muslim members in the party will also be increased,” Ajmal told this correspondent here on Sunday.

In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the party fielded seven candidates, of which only two were non-Muslims.

The move has assumed significance in view of the fact that Ajmal, a Lok Sabha MP from Dhubri, faced serious allegations of trying to give communal colour to the ethnic violence, which erupted in the Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD) last year.

“All such allegations were not only baseless but also politically motivated. This would be more evident when the party would not highlight the BTAD violence during campaigning for next year’s polls,” he said.

On the other hand, Ajmal categorically ruled out any pre-poll alliance with the ruling Congress in Assam and said any alliance with the Congress would be suicidal.

“In case of any pre-poll alliance, the ruling Congress will be the loser in Upper Assam and AIUDF would face the same fate in lower Assam. Rather, we will be interested in having a pre-poll alliance with non-Congress and non-BJP parties like the AGP,” he said.

Responding to the question of maintaining “good” relationship and extending support to the UPA government at the Centre, Ajmal said: “There are two groups at the Centre. One is a secular group — the UPA led by the Congress — and another is the NDA led by BJP. We consider BJP as the dangerous communal force in the country. So we have to support the UPA which, however, does not imply proximity and closeness to the Congress.”

The AIUDF will contest its maiden Lok Sabha polls in Bengal next year. Ajmal said the party will field candidates in 14 constituencies and was confident of performing well.

Ajmal said he is getting requests from different quarters to spread the wings of AIUDF to other states like Uttar Pradesh. The party is now actively considering concentrating on Jharkhand and recently sent a delegate to study the political scenario there.