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Cong targets super six.

AT a recent rally in Dhubri, the westernmost district in lower Assam, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said, "The BJP repealed the IMDT Act. Still I have not thrown out one single individual during my tenure as chief minister." The statement had two factual errors.

First, the Supreme Court had declared the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act as unconstitutional in 2005 following a battle by then SU leader Sarbananda Sonowal (now the state BJP president). Second, by the Assam government's admission, 134 of the 5,652 illegal immigrants detected were deported to Bangladesh between 2010 and 2012.

But facts are sacrificed for political gains during the poll campaigns. As Assam enters the

final phase of the election on April 24, this was a desperate attempt by Gogoi to woo Muslims in Dhubri and Barpeta.

With Muslims living under fear, the Congress is finding it tough to stop supporters of the community siding with the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF).

With over 75 per cent Muslim population, Dhubri is considered AIUDF chief Maulana Badruddin Ajmal's fortress. In 2012, AIUDF's stock among Muslims rose following the riots in the Bodoland. The Gogoi government was at that time accused of bias towards ally Bodoland People's Front. However, in Barpeta, the battle has become multi- cornered.

While AIUDF did not contest in 2009, sitting Congress MP Ismail Hussain had defeated his AGP rival Bhupen Rai by a slender margin. This time, AIUDF has fielded Badruddin's brother Sirajuddin.

Former AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary, now a BJP candidate, and AGP's Phani Bhusan Choudhury are also contesting in Barpeta.

Though the Bodo- dominated Kokrajhar remained a BPF stronghold, its popularity has dipped, especially among non- Bodo communities.

The Guwahati constituency will see a three- cornered fight among sitting BJP MP Bijoya Chakravarty, Congress' Manas Bora and AGP's Birendra Prasad Baishya. Bora, son of state minister Akon Bora, was the first Congress candidate to be selected through primaries. While Chakravarty hopes to ride on the Modi wave, Baishya is expected to give a tough challenge.

Nagaon seems to have been swept by the Modi wave, giving an edge to sitting BJP MP Rajen Gohain. The Mangaldoi constituency is a prestige issue for Himanta Biswa Sarma as the Congress high command decided to field his nominee Kirip Chaliha despite strong opposition from Gogoi. Despite a significant Muslim population, the AIUDF has fielded an unknown Hindu candidate, Paresh Baishya, reportedly to help Sarma.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Apr 23, 2014
Words:421
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