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An appeal to use NOTA

- Minority students’ union unhappy with candidates

Guwahati, March 20: The All Assam Minorities Students’ Union (AAMSU) has appealed to voters in Assam to use the none of the above (NOTA) option in the Lok Sabha elections if they do not find candidates who they think will raise demands such as the NRC update and the issue of “D” (doubtful) voters.

AAMSU president Abdur Rahim Ahmed told The Telegraph that the students’ organisation was not at all happy with the candidates fielded by different political parties in Assam, particularly in Barpeta and Dhubri districts.

He said the union does not think that the candidates fielded so far would highlight the real issues concerning the minorities in Parliament.

“We are a non-political organisation and thus cannot ask the people to vote for a particular candidate or party. But the AAMSU will carry out awareness drives to sensitise the minorities to vote for the right candidates. Despite knowing the fact that Barpeta and Dhubri are minority-dominated districts, political parties like the Congress and All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) have not fielded candidates who have abilities to focus and highlight properly the issues like NRC update, ‘D’ voters and illegal infiltration in Parliament,” Ahmed said.

Ahmed said the minorities, particularly Muslims, in the state should not be taken for a ride by the political parties in the elections and thus they use the NOTA option.

The use of NOTA, he said would put “pressure political parties to nominate only good candidates”.

An election department official told this correspondent that since EVMs would be used in the elections in the state the voters could press the NOTA button if they do not find any candidate of their choice.

The Congress has fielded its sitting MP Ismail Hussain in Barpeta.

The AAMSU leader alleged that Hussain has not raised any issue of Muslims in Assam in the Lok Sabha during the last five years. He also alleged that the AIUDF’s candidate, Sirajuddin Ajmal in Barpeta, who is currently an MLA, had even failed raise issues of minorities in the Assembly.

“What can one expect from Sirajuddin even if he is elected as an MP? But we are leaving everything to the choice of the voters,” he said.

Ahmed said no political parties were serious about minority issues and only interested in getting votes.

All Assam Students’ Union on Tuesday asked the political parties to come out with time bound action plans to solve the state’s issues, including NRC update and Assam Accord implementation.