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Perfume baron sniffs gains.

WHEN Assam United Democratic Front, now the All India United Democratic Front ( AIUDF), fought its first Assembly election in 2006, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi famously asked: " Who is Badruddin?" With flowing beard and a skull cap, Badruddin Ajmal, the AIUDF founder, has since been perceived by many in Assam as the protector of " illegal Muslim immigrants from Bangaldesh". The Fazil- e- Deoband -- equivalent to a Masters degree in Islamic theology and Arabic -- from Darul Uloom Deoband rubbishes such a notion. " Ours is a secular party for the people of entire Assam," says Ajmal who was born in Hojai in Assam's Nagaon district in 1950.

To support his claim, the multimillionaire perfume baron, who has business across India and abroad, points to a couple of Hindu leaders in the party.

In 2011, Ajmal responded to Gogoi's question by winning 18 seats and emerging as the second- largest party in the state Assembly, although it won 60 less than the Congress tally. In the run- up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Gogoi is not only aware of Ajmal, but has also entered into a secret pact with the AIUDF chief, according to media reports.

In the last Lok Sabha polls, Ajmal fielded his brother Sirajuddin from Kaliabor against sitting MP and Gogoi's brother Dip Gogoi. This time, Sirajuddin has been shifted to Barpeta.

Gogoi's son Gaurav is the Con- gress candidate from Kaliabor.

What has raised eyebrows is Ajmal's decision to give ticket to party vice- president Aditya Langthasa in Nagaon and one unknown Paresh Baishya in Magoldoi. Both constituencies have significant Muslim population.

" It's crystal clear that Ajmal is helping Gogoi to ensure a comfortable victory for Gaurav.

The allegations of a secret pact first came to the fore when in February AIUDF vice- president Ataur Rahman Mazarbhuyan abstained from voting in the Rajya Sabha elections, and thereby ensured that all three candidates from the Congress and Bodoland Peoples Front won.

" These are all media- created reports. We are united against the Congress and fighting it everywhere. In Tezpur, we are supporting Moni Kumar Subba who was denied a Congress ticket. Subba will certainly win," says the AIUDF chief, popularly known as Maulana Ajmal.

Analysis says AIUDF is certain to win Dhubri and Barpeta, and may add Karimganj to its tally this time.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Apr 8, 2014
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