AIUDF alleges cross-voting in prez poll; Cong snubs ‘absurd claims’

  • | Monday | 18th July, 2022

Guwahati, Jul 18 (PTI) Two main opposition parties in Assam engaged in a war of words on Monday over the presidential elections, as the AIUDF alleged that 20 of the 27 MLAs of the Congress voted in favour of NDA nominee Droupadi Murmu, a charge denied by the grand old party.Murmu is up against joint opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha in the fray.Talking to reporters, AIUDF MLA Karimuddin Barbhuiya said he had evidence that 20 legislators of the opposition Congress have cross-voted in favour of Murmu.The MLA from Sonai in Cachar district, however, did not produce any evidence to make his point.He lashed out at Congress state unit president Bhupen Bora for not inviting AIUDF members to a meeting of opposition parties when presidential candidate Yashwant Sinha had come to Assam to seek the support of MPs and MLAs.Reacting to the allegations, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Debabrata Saikia told PTI that Barbhuiya’s claims were “absurd” as votes were cast through a secret ballot system.Saikia said that the AIUDF had been maintaining "double standards" on the whole presidential poll issue.“I will not assume or speculate which of their MLAs voted for whom. That said, AIUDF Chief Badruddin Ajmal had participated in two meetings of opposition parties in New Delhi but did not give any assurance.“Ajmal later announced that he would support Murmu only to change the stance a day before polls,” the Congress leader maintained.The results will reveal the “true picture”, Saikia said.Independent MLA Akhil Gogoi also came down heavily on the AIUDF, accusing Ajmal of being the “biggest liar on this earth”.After casting his vote, the the Raijor Dal president said that the AIUDF"s communal politics was one of the reasons why the BJP came to power in the state.As long as AIUDF practises communal politics, the BJP will continue to have its way, he added.The Congress and the AIUDF had entered into an electoral alliance before the 2021 assembly polls. After facing a humiliating defeat in the polls, the Congress withdrew from the alliance and the two parties had since then often engaged in a spat over various issues Several BJP MLAs had visited the residence of AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal on Sunday requesting the party to change its decision and vote in favour of the NDA nominee.AIUDF MLA Aminul Islam later said that the “BJP, which does not want to do anything with our party, is now shamelessly asking for votes”.The AIUDF had announced on Sunday that it would vote for the opposition candidate, despite not getting an invite by the Congress to the meeting organised during Sinha"s visit.The AIUDF has 15 MLAs in the 126-member Assembly and one MP in Lok Sabha. Two of its MLAs did not exercise their franchise as they are away in Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj.The Congress has 27 MLAs but three of them have been suspended due to anti-party activities. The suspended legislators did not reveal their choice of candidate.The sole CPI(M) legislator and an Independent MLA have pledged their support to Sinha.Congress MLA Bharat Chandra Narah, currently undergoing treatment at New Delhi, had sought permission to exercise his franchise in Parliament.The ruling NDA has 79 MLAs in the Assembly while three BPF members, who support the ruling alliance, did not make their preference public. PTI DG RMS RMS

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