| AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal speaks at the meeting on Thursday. Picture by UB Photos |
Kakajan (Jorhat), April 3: AIUDF president Badruddin Ajmal addressed his maiden poll rally in Upper Assam late this afternoon, nearly five hours late than the scheduled time (12.30pm) here, 16km east of Jorhat.
The organisers of the rally were worried if their leader would be able to make it via helicopter as sunlight was fading.
Messages came in from his aides that Ajmal’s schedule — election meetings in Sonitpur and Lakhimpur districts — was getting delayed because of protests by a large number of people at the proposed venue of his first meeting at Biswanath Chariali.
His helicopter was unable to refuel and had to return to Tezpur airport for the same.
Over 5,000 people, including women, were waiting from noon to listen to the leader, whose party has fielded Nasir Ahmed for the Jorhat Lok Sabha constituency.
The seat is at present occupied by veteran Congress leader and former Union minister Bijoy Krishna Handique since 1991 for six times in a row and is now seeking another term.
To keep the crowd at the venue, well-wishers of the party first served packets of pulao (without meat) and water bottles to the people.
Two quintals of joha rice was cooked near the venue and packed in plastic bags and distributed so that people did not leave for lunch.
Another quintal of rice was kept in stock.
Ainuddin Ahmed, the man taking the initiative to prepare the refreshments, told The Telegraph that he, along with seven others, thought of the idea to keep the people at the venue, as the meeting was scheduled for 12.30pm — around lunch time.
Many were expected to come from distant areas.
“We jointly contributed for the pulao as we wanted the first AIUDF meeting in Upper Assam to be a success,” Ahmed said.
After nearly 10 speakers, including the president of the youth wing of the AIUDF, Bodiruz Zama, addressed the crowd to keep the people seated, Ajmal’s helicopter finally arrived, bringing cheer to the crowd, which gave a rousing reception to the leader.
After offering his evening prayers on the podium, Ajmal, citing a conspiracy by the Congress to sabotage his rally at Biswanath Chariali, said the Congress and the BJP were both two sides of the same coin.
Accusing the Congress of being dipped in corruption and the BJP of being communal, Ajmal said his party stood for the underprivileged and the backward people of all religions and communities.
He said his party was inspired by Kanshiram and Mayawati, who had built up the BSP as a “strong party” and had wiped out the Congress and the BJP in Uttar Pradesh.
“Our philosophy is to first to expose the opponent, to ensure their defeat by eating into their vote base and for our party to be victorious,” the AIUDF leader said.