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AIUDF Chief Badruddin Ajmal exclusive interview with Sentinel Assam

In an exclusive chat with sentinelassam.com, All India United Democratic Front Chief Badruddin Ajmal

Badruddin Ajmal

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  8 July 2020 2:42 AM GMT

In an exclusive chat with sentinelassam.com, All India United Democratic Front Chief Badruddin Ajmal did not shy away from praising political rival Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma for the work the minister has been doing amid the Corona crisis. Ajmal said his Foundation is ready to help all those rendered jobless due to COVID and also all those people affected by the Baghjan fire. Here are the excerpts from the interview.

Sentinel Assam: Assam elections are scheduled to be held next year. BJP appears to have already embarked on their poll campaign. What are the plans of AIUDF?

Badruddin Ajmal: BJP is in power both at the Centre and the state. It is their men, their machinery. BJP can do anything, anywhere, anytime but we cannot. Lockdown has been imposed since past three months. We are smaller parties. Even if 10 of our party people gather, we might get arrested or end up getting quarantined. You all have heard the story about the tortoise and the hare. We are like the tortoise – we are moving slowly but will win in the end. We are following the lockdown rules but we are working too without stepping out of our homes or without making too much noise. We are working at the grass root level. BJP will get to know when the time comes.

Sentinel Assam: What are your views on the health infrastructure in rural areas and overall handling of the COVID situation. The Assam government has no doubt, done a lot to take care of people during this health emergency.

Badruddin Ajmal: First of all, I would like to say the efforts put in by Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is unbelievable. He has been going out of his way to do a lot of work. He has been working 24x7, we have to acknowledge that. We do not have rural health infrastructure but it is the people in the urban areas who are not abiding by the lockdown norms. Maximum number of cases are being reported in the urban areas. People in the rural areas are being saved by God. Governments cannot do much because it is not possible to create health infrastructure overnight in our rural areas which is spread far and wide. I would like to request Dr Sarma and the government to introduce strict action against those people in the urban areas who are not abiding by the lockdown protocol. I am requesting to all our citizens with folded hands, please save yourself, save your family, your relatives and your friends. Follow social distancing norms. Do not throng market places as if its Eid or Diwali.

Sentinel Assam: Lockdown has been imposed again. The first thing that crosses our mind is job losses, unemployment and tough times for traders and businesses. What do you think needs to be done to address these issues?

Badruddin Ajmal: Unemployment is high, it has been high. I am not sure how much the packages announced by the government would be able to help. We have been into business for the past 60 years. Our shops in Dubai are open but there are no customers. We just cannot think about ourselves. We have to think about all the people who are employed in our shops, in our businesses. The government has to think about the rickshaw puller, the small trader or the small shop owner. Simply announcing packages will not help. The government should think of giving daily allowances to these people. If these people are not taken care of financially, I fear crime might increase. People would be forced to take to robbery, dacoity and cheating. This is a problem not specific to Assam only. Its there across the country. The only ministry that is working in Assam is the Health ministry.

Sentinel Assam: Any suggestion that you would like to put forward to help people who are facing financial problems?

Badruddin Ajmal: Every political party has to come together, an all party meeting should be held so that MLAs, MPs who are the representatives of people can put their suggestions forward. It is high time for an all party meet to be held. We alone from AIUDF cannot do this. Every political party has to come together to help our people.

Sentinel Assam: Have you given any specific directions to your party MLAs or your party workers?

Badruddin Ajmal: From Ajmal Foundation side we have been providing food to over 3 lakh families and we would continue doing this. I have directed all our MLAs and workers to be in constant touch with the people and try and solve their problems.

These are unprecedented times. I think the government should convene all party meetings every 15 days because the situation is fast changing and people are in distress. We have to come together to find best solutions for our people. We have to review steps taken and steps that need to be taken due to the fast changing scenario. Representatives of vegetable vendors, rickshaw pullers and handcart pullers should be invited to these meetings, not just the politicians, MLAs and MPs.

Sentinel Assam: What are your comments on Baghjan oil blowout and the fire that is still burning. You have announced an economic package for those affected.

Badruddin Ajmal: We used to take pride in our oil industry. We take pride in operations being cachiefrried out by Oil India. But this incident has brought to light the fact that Oil India did not take any safety measure. No precautionary measure was taken. Hundreds of people have been affected. Who are going to compensate these people? Will the Central government or the state government or Oil India compensate these people? Government should take action on Oil India and immediately compensate the affected people. If government wants, we from Ajmal Foundation are ready to help these people in every possible way. It is very unfortunate incident that took place. I have written to the Prime Minister and the Union Petroleum Minister and have requested them to take necessary steps to help the people and also take corrective measures to prevent repeat of any such accidents.

Sentinel Assam: Health infrastructure, online education and employment are going to be some of the important issues in the upcoming Assam elections?

Badruddin Ajmal: I think the online classes which are happening now in the urban areas is good. But government has to think of the students in the rural areas. They should think of solar solutions as there is no electricity in many villages. Units have to be created in the villages to help our students.

Also Watch: Rs 1.30 Lakh Fine Collected For Lockdown Violations in Kokrajhar


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