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    Assam polls: Congress plays ULFA peace card

    New Delhi: The Congress is playing its peace card in Assam this election, focusing on the peace talks between the government and the ULFA. The absence of Paresh Baruah from those talks still continues to be a sticking point. A development not many had anticipated - ULFA chairman and founder Arabinda Rajkhowa in India and earlier this year in talks with the government. Now, as Assam goes to the polls, the Congress is playing up the ULFA peace card to win votes but peace broker Hiren Saikya says the it can't claim credit, especially since the ULFA's military commander Paresh Baruah has refused to support the peace process. "There have been so many setbacks but they have always fought back, because the people of Assam believe in the cause of the ULFA. Nothing has changed in the past 30 years,” said Hirrenya Saikia, ULFA Sympathizer.And to drive the point home, a faction supporting Baruah targetted the Congress HQ with a blast two weeks ago. But the chief minister is confident the peace talks will help his party remain in office. "If we win the elections, we will bring the ULFA to the peace table and appeal to Paresh Baruah as well to come to talk,” said Tarun Gogoi, chief minister, Assam.ULFA sympathizers believe that the more time the government takes to chalk out the peace process, the more time the ULFA gets to regroup and consolidate its base. They also want us to believe that while Arabinda Rajkhowa may have been arrested, no real peace can be achieved until and unless Paresh Baruah is present at the talking table.The ULFA apart, there are other poll issues in Assam - illegal immigration and corruption to name just two. So will the ULFA peace talks factor bring any votes? The jury is out on that question.