DHUBRI: Since Independence, 4-Dhubri Lok Sabha constituency had been a strong fortress of the Congress, barring only a few occasions when Prajatantra Socialist Party (PSP), Congress (S) and United Minorities Front (UMF) of Golam Osmani wrested it. It always favoured the Congress till 2004. A new era of politics was started in 2006 with the emergence of the AIUDF with Badruddin Ajmal as its chief in 2006.
In 2006 Assembly election, Ajmal pitched himself against Congress heavyweight Wazed Ali Choudhury from South Salmara LAC and defeated him with a huge margin. Later Ajmal contested the Lok Sabha election in 2009 and defeated the Congress candidate by a huge margin of votes. He retained the seat in 2014.
However, this time around, Ajmal has been under the glare of political observers who are little apprehensive about his strong base of vote in minority-dominated Dhubri Lok Sabha seat.
“Reason? It has already been in the media regarding a veiled and coveted understanding between the AIUDF and the Congress, and as per plan Ajmal wanted the Congress to field weak candidates in Dhubri, Barpeta and Karimganj seats, and in return, he would refrain from fielding any candidate in other 11 constituencies. But the Congress instead fielded strong candidates in these three constituencies,” a political observer opined.
By fielding Abu Taher Bepari, a two-time legislator from Golokganj Assembly constituency, the Congress sent a clear message that they were not in the mood of the coveted alliance. This has led Ajmal to have a tough turf as the Congress considerably regained its strength in the panchayat election, and if the trend continues it will trouble him in this poll.
In 2009, while Ajmal secured a total 5,40,820 votes, Congress candidate Anowar Hussain got a total 3,56,401 votes. Similarly, in 2014, while Ajmal secured 5,92,669 votes, Congress candidate Wazed Ali Choudhury secured 3,62,839 votes. But this time, the scene is uncertain as Ajmal's support base is being eroded in the constituency.
This time, as many as 15 candidates are in the fray from 4 Dhubri MP seat, spreading across 10 Assembly segments -- Dhubri, South Salmara-Mankachar and Goalpara districts. But the BJP is missing this time from the fray due to its alliance with the AGP, and this seat has gone to the AGP in their seat sharing plan. This time, it seems, the major contenders for the seat are Badruddin Ajmal (AIUDF), Abu Taher Bepari (INC) and Jabed Islam (AGP). TMC candidate Nurul Islam Choudhury is also there.
AGP candidate Jabed Islam is the son of veteran Congress leader of Dhubri district and former minister Zehirul Islam. Javed Islam, after having denied ticket by the Congress, contested as an independent candidate in 2006 and won from Mankachar Assembly constituency. He was expelled from Congress primary membership. He later joined the party as an associate member. Islam, a few months ago, joined the AGP.
AGP candidate Islam is eyeing BJP and AGP vote share plus his grip over the voters in Mankachar and other Assembly segments in the Lok Sabha constituency.
Similarly, TMC candidate Nurul Islam Choudhury, comparatively a new entrant in active politics though remained with the AIUDF for many years, was also eying Bengali Hindu votes plus his personal grip among cross-sections of people. Being a senior advocate of Dhubri Bar and former president of the All Assam Lawyers’ Association, Choudhury is a known face to the people.
This time Dhubri Lok Sabha has 18,45,119 voters -- 9,44,025 males and 9,01,174 females -- in 2,450 polling stations. The constituency is going to poll on April 23.
When contacted by The Sentinel, Trinamul Congress candidate from Dhubri Lok Sabha seat NI Choudhury, while expressing his confidence to be very much in the contest, said that as far as he campaign in Goalpara, Dhubri and South Salmara-Mankachar is concerned, he received overwhelming love and support. “My direct contest will be with AIUDF candidate Badruddin Ajmal as the Congress considerably lost its ground. If linguistic minority voters favour me, I will win,” a confident Islam claimed.
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