Minority stronghold Dhubri LS to witness triangular contest

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Avik Chakraborty

Guwahati, May 1: The Dhubri Lok Sabha seat, known as a minority stronghold to witness a triangular contest between AIUDF, and AGP, which will go to polls in the third phase on May 7.

The constituency embodies a diverse fabric with Muslims constituting 55% Hindus 40% and other religious groups comprising 5% of the population.

Three time sitting MP Badruddin Ajmal, of AIUDF will contest against five-time MLA from Nagaon’s Samaguri, Rakibul Hussain and NDA has fielded Zabed Islam on an AGP ticket. Dhubri has been waiting for a triangular contest and all the three candidates have been working hard to appeal to the voters.

The delimitation has reset the electoral landscape in the constituency, presenting a fresh challenge to the Congress and the AIUDF. The 60 percent voters belonging to the minority community in the Lok Sabha constituency are the deciding factors. While urban voters in the constituency comprise a minuscule 11 percent rural voters comprise the bulk of 89 percent.

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The Dhubri Lok Sabha constituency had ten assembly segments earlier and now has 11 Assembly segments after delimitation. The Legislative assembly constituency segments in the constituency are: Golokganj, Dhubri, Birsing Jarua, Gauripur, Bilasipara, Mankachar, Jaleswar, Goalpara East, Srijangram, Mandia, and Chenga.

Earlier, Dhubri has been a bastion of the Congress party but in 2009 for the first time a newly floated party All India Democratic Front (AIUDF), led by Maulana Badruddin Ajmal snatched away the seat from Congress. Ajmal’s consecutive victories since 2009 underscore the party’s sway, particularly in Muslim majority constituencies.

The constituency was under the grip of the Congress from 1971-2009, development was never on the election agenda.

With a total of 1,353,952 eligible voters, comprising 1,289,451 males and 264,340 females, the constituency reflects a substantial rural majority, accounting for 89% of its geographical expansion, with the remaining 11% clarified as urban areas.

The minority people are the deciding factor in the constituency because of their majority in the constituency and all the three candidates who were contesting from this constituency are from minority background.

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“We need development of Dhubri Lok Sabha constituency. No political parties have addressed our genuine problem. During the election, they came to us to seek votes but after the election it was over they didn’t come to solve our problem. We have not seen development in our constituency. This time, we will vote for the party which will work for the all-round development of the constituency. Education, healthcare and unemployment have been the major issues in the constituency but nobody addresses such genuine problems. Every time we were used for ‘vote bank’ politics but this time we will vote for development because we have been suppressed for many years,” said Mujibur Rehman, a senior citizen of Dhubri.

Rupak Bhattacharjee, a political analyst said, “The battle of Dhubri is an interesting one because AIUDF Badruddin Ajmal will be contesting against Congress and AGP. Ajmal is a three time MP from Dhubri and has not done anything for the constituency. Incumbency factor is there but how the other two candidates will appeal or transfer the votes in support of them will be very interesting. It has been seen that the traditional Congress voters have turned to the AIUDF side since 2009 but slowly most of them are fed up with the AIUDF and switching to other parties. Rakibul Hussain contesting from Congress ticket as INDIA bloc candidate whereas Zabed Islam contesting from AGP ticket as NDA candidate. Development is the key issue in the constituency.”

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