Muslims hold trump card in Assam Phase 2, 3 polls

These five constituencies in upper Assam comprise ethnic Assamese communities and tea tribes.

Guwahati: If tea-tribe communities had the trump card in the first phase of polling in Assam’s five Lok Sabha constituencies, Muslim voters are going to play the key role in second and the third phase of polling as was visible with the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), appealing to its supporters to vote for the party opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the six of the nine seats it is not contesting this time.

Silchar, Karimganj, Autonomous District and Nagaon will go to the polls in the second phase on April 18 and Guwahati, Mangaldai, Barpeta, Kokrajhar and Dhubri will vote in the third and last phase on April 23.

The AIUDF has restricted itself to contesting the three seats it holds —Karimganj, Dhubri and Barpeta.

In all the five constituencies, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Kaliabor, Tezpur and Lakhimpur, where polling was completed in the first phase on Thursday, the battle was a straight fight between Congress and BJP along with its ally, AGP.

These five constituencies in upper Assam comprise ethnic Assamese communities and tea tribes.

The demography of voters in the remaining nine constituencies in central Assam, Barak valley, western Assam and lower Assam, including Guwahati, is a mix of ethnic communities, tribal groups, adivasis and Bengali-speaking Hindu and Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh.

The AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal while asserting his stand said, “We are appealing to our voters in the seats that we are not contesting this time to vote for any party which opposes the citizenship bill. Our policy this time is to prevent the division of the anti-citizenship bill votes and so we decided to restrict ourselves to just three seats that we hold at present.”

The AIUDF spokesperson, Champak Kalita, also denied the “perception created in the media” that the AIUDF had given space to the Congress by not contesting in these seats. Mr Kalita was of the view that they are appealing their voters to vote for the party or candidate opposing the citizenship bill.

He clarified, “We don’t consider AGP or BPF to be anti-citizenship bill parties.”

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