Assam minister and senior BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday slammed the supporters of AIUDF president Badruddin Ajmal alleging that they raised “Pakistan zindabad” slogan on his arrival at the Silchar airport, a charge the opposition party denied.
The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) claimed that the slogan – “Aziz Khan Zindabad” – was twisted by the BJP to malign the party. Mr Khan is a party MLA who was accompanying Mr Ajmal on Thursday when the alleged incident occurred.
Mr Sarma, the convenor of the Northeast Democratic Alliance (NEDA), the NDA’s version in the region, posted a video on his Twitter account, showing a group of people raising slogans in front of the airport building at Silchar in Cachar district of the state.
“Look at the brazenness of these fundamentalists anti-national people who are shouting PAKISTAN ZINDABAD while they welcome MP @BadruddinAjmal,” the minister tweeted.
“This thoroughly exposes the Congress which is encouraging such forces by forging an alliance. We shall fight them tooth and nail. Jai Hind,” Mr Sarma said.
The AIUDF has agreed to be a part of the Grand Alliance being forged by the Congress against the ruling BJP for the state assembly elections next year.
Mr Sarma also instructed the police to register a case in this connection and investigate the matter.
Silchar BJP MP Dr Rajdeep Roy said he filed a complaint with the police against Mr Ajmal and AIUDF supporters in this regard.
“Enough is enough! Outraged after hearing ‘Pakistan zindabad’ in my constituency,” Mr Roy said.
The AIUDF, on the other hand, alleged that the BJP has twisted the slogans raised by party supporters in support of its leaders.
“They said Aziz Khan zindabad, not Pakistan zindabad,” party general secretary Aminul Islam said.
“Since the AIUDF and the Congress have started discussions on forming a Grand Alliance, the BJP – particularly its senior minister Himanta Biswa Sarma – has been trying to create controversies. They have realised that it is going to affect the party’s prospects in the polls,” he said.
Claiming that it was a “political conspiracy” and demanded that an inquiry be held into “this misinformation campaign” initiated by certain media houses.
The leader of the opposition in the state assembly, Debabrata Saikia of the Congress, expressed concern over reports that some people raised “Pakistan zindabad” slogans after Mr Ajmal’s arrival at the airport in Silchar on Thursday.
“The exact word used by the sloganeers could not be made out distinctly from the news reports due to background noise in the video footage,” he said.
The government should immediately direct the police to question the assembled people, analyse all available video footage and utilize forensic technology to ascertain whether the word used before the word “zindabad” was actually “Pakistan” or something else, Mr Saikia said in a statement.
“If the word Pakistan was actually used, then those guilty of this nefarious act must be identified and brought to book. Further, in that event, the force which is trying to create unrest in our society via such condemnable deeds must be identified and awarded stringent punishment,” he said.
The opposition Congress in Assam announced last month that it has joined hands with two Left parties the CPI and the CPI(ML) – for a united fight from the proposed platform of Grand Alliance, of which the AIUDF agreed to be a part. The election to the 126-member Assam assembly is likely to be held in March-April next year. The 2016 polls gave a fractured mandate and no party has got absolute
In the current House, the BJP is the single largest party with 60 MLAs, while its allies Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF) have 14 and 12 lawmakers respectively. The ruling coalition also has the support of an Independent MLA.
The Congress has 23 MLAs, while the AIUDF has 14 members.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)