De­cides 2016

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Bikash.Singh @times­group.com

Na­gar­bara: Come elec­tion time and per­fume baron Maulana Badrud­din Aj­mal takes on an­other avatar. At ral­lies, vot­ers press the chief of the All In­dia United Demo­cratic Front for “heal­ing” wa­ter.

As a re­sult, Aj­mal, who ad­dresses three or four elec­tion ral­lies a day, also has to make time af­ter prayers to “bless” a large num­ber of con­tain­ers of wa­ter brought by his fol­low­ers, who be­lieve it has a heal­ing ef­fect. The in­dus­tri­al­ist and cleric be­lieves that he will have a greater role to play in the for­ma­tion of the gov­ern­ment this time around, with the BJP seek­ing to cap­i­talise on anti-in­cum­bency in a state that has been ruled by the Congress for 15 years.

Aj­mal, 66, is count­ing on his abil­ity to pull in big crowds to play king­maker when the votes are counted on May 19 af­ter the two-phased polling in As­sam.

The first phase was held on April 4 and the sec­ond is sched­uled on April 11.

The AIUDF has seat-shar­ing ar­range­ments with the Janata Dal (U) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Aj­mal now says he is ready to join hands with the Asom Gana Par­ishad and the Bodoland Peo­ple’s Front if they leave their al­liance with the BJP. “AIUDF can form the gov­ern­ment with the AGP and BPF mi­nus BJP. AIUDF and its al­lies are go­ing to im­prove their tally this time. No gov­ern­ment for­ma­tion is pos­si­ble with­out our help,” Aj­mal said.

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