By NVONews.Com Correspondent,
Guwahati: Even as fresh violence flared up in Bodo-dominated area of Assam the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) is planning to expand its base in a couple of other North-Eastern states. It has dropped enough hints to take part in the coming Assembly election in Meghalaya. But the problem with the party is that a huge percentage of seats are reserved for the Schedule Tribes in these states and the number of tribal Muslims is too small.
AIUDF is likely to contest in several Assembly seats in plain belt of Garo Hills. For example, Mahendraganj Rajabala and Phulbari have some Muslim population and are represented by Muslim MLAs. If AIUDF puts up its candidates, it may pose some problem to the candidates of the established parties, especially the ruling Congress. Similarly, Ampatigiri, Salmanpara Rangsakona, Raksamgre, Tikrikilla etc too have some Muslim population to make or mar the prospect of any party.
But then AIUDF can not contest in most of the seats because they have been reserved for Schedule Tribes. Fifty-five of the 60 seats in Meghalaya are reserved for Schedule Tribes.
In the Khasi-Jaintia Hills region, West Shillong, South Shillong and Pynthorumkhrah are the general seats while the remaining 33 seats are open to indigenous candidates only. Meghalaya has 60-member House and Assembly election is due next Feb-March. Muslims form less than 2.5 per cent of population of the state.
Manipur is the other state where AIUDF is thinking in terms of expanding. Officially the state has 8.32 per cent Muslim population. In fact Mohammed Alimuddin twice served as the chief minister of the state in early 1970s.
But one-third of seats of Manipur Assembly is reserved. While 19 constituencies are reserved for Schedule Tribes one is fixed for Schedule Castes.
If AIDUF contests election in Meghalaya it would be the first state after Assam in the North-East to do so.
According to its general secretary Aminul Islam there has been a demand to set up the AIUDF unit from states like Meghalaya, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Manipur.
He said the issue would be discussed in the General Council meeting which was initially scheduled to be held in June, but was put off because of floods and the riots in Assam. The party already has units in West Bengal and Maharashtra.
AIUDF was formed in Assam in 2005. In 2006 Assembly election it won 10 seats and in 2011 it bagged 18 seats. Its founder, perfume baron, Badruddin Ajmal, is the lone MP of the party. He represents Dhubri Lok Sabha seat of Assam.