Guwahati, April 11: Polling for the second phase of Assam Assembly Elections 2016 has begun. The fate of 525 candidates in 61 of the 126 constituencies will be decided in the closing phase of Assam polling. All eyes would be on Badruddin Ajmal’s All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) as the party has its strong presence in these 61 seats going for poll in the last phase of Assam Assembly elections.

The lower Assam region, where the last phase polling is being taken place, has sizeable Muslim population. As many as 41 of the 61 seats are in seven districts where the Muslims constitute over 50 per cent of the population. These districts include Dhubri, Bongaigaon, Goalpara, Barpeta, Darrang, Marigaon and Nagaon. (ALSO READ: Will AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal become kingmaker?)

The AIUDF won 18 seats in the last Assembly polls. Notably, 17 of the 18 seats were won by the AIUDF came from these 61 seats; 13 came from lower Assam, four from central Assam and one from Barak Valley. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the pro-Muslim party won both the lower Assam constituencies of Barpeta and Dhubri besides bagging the Karimganj seat in Barak Valley.

Till 2005, Muslims votes were considered traditional vote bank of Congress party. But the equation started changing fast after Badruddin Ajmal formed AIUDF in 2005 in Assam. The party won 10 seats in its debut electoral performance in the 2006 Assam Assembly polls. The AIUDF snatched away Congress’ potential weapon and strengthened its grip over Muslim dominated areas.

The emergence of the AIUDF posed more threat to Congress rather than the BJP. Besides having the stronghold in Muslim dominated areas, AIUDF has been trying to enlist the support of other communities, including the tea tribes. AIUDF is set to ruin the game-plan of Congress. If Ajmal’s party wins 20-25 seats, it will surely eat the seats of Congress.