Fifteen years in the past, former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi pointedly requested that query — and stored asking it. The yr was 2006. A newly shaped All India United Democratic Entrance (AIUDF) mounted a large election marketing campaign, with its founder Maulana Badruddin Ajmal pumping in money in minority-dominated pockets of decrease and center Assam. Gogoi was alerted by his celebration leaders that it was an assault on their very citadel. In his characteristically candid type, the late Congressman retorted — “Who’s Badruddin?” — a query he repeated in public boards.
The AIUDF’s reply got here within the type of election outcomes — it despatched 10 MLAs to Dispur in 2006. Within the 2011 polls, its tally went as much as 18, earlier than slipping to 13 in 2016. Assam meeting has 126 members.
Quick ahead to 2021. With the northeastern state gearing up for the meeting ballot starting March 27, Ajmal isn’t solely part of Congress-led Mahajot (grand alliance) however is the principle goal of BJP’s slogans on suraksha (safety) and sabhyata (civilisation). The ruling celebration goes to city portray Ajmal as a messiah for undocumented Muslim migrants from Bangladesh and labelling him as a risk to Assamese id.
Like him or hate him, nobody can ignore him. Ajmal, 65, has taken centrestage in Assam Ballot 2021.
However who’s Badruddin Ajmal? The person from Hojai in Assam wears many hats — founding father of AIUDF, three-time MP and Islamic non secular healer — however exterior these spheres, he’s a fragrance mogul.
His household’s flagship firm, Ajmal Perfumes, is headquartered in Dubai, with 270 retail showrooms unfold throughout the Center East. Among the uncooked supplies utilized in two of their Dubai factories are imported from their agarwood plantation in Assam.
The ultimate product, the oudh oil-based fragrance (oudh means each agarwood and its resin), is exported to as many as 42 nations, in response to publicly accessible paperwork plus among the uncommon interviews by Ajmal’s nephew and firm COO, Abdulla Ajmal.
“We’re Indians however it (Ajmal Perfumes) is a UAE model,” mentioned Abdulla Ajmal in an interview to the Khaleej Occasions on January 7, highlighting the truth that theirs is a novel farm-to-fragrance firm, because the oil for the fragrance comes from their very own plantations. In 2017, the corporate hosted 10 worldwide perfumers in Assam, showcasing their oudh processing, agarwood bushes and plantations.
“I’m now not concerned about biz. I don’t know what our income is. I’m instructed our cos grew even throughout Covid. 4 of my sons are in enterprise. I need to groom my fifth son Mohammed Ahmed in politics”
When ET Journal requested AIUDF common secretary and celebration spokesperson Champak Kalita about Ajmal’s enterprise, he mentioned he’s authorised to talk solely on celebration issues. “Ajmal saheb’s brothers, sons and nephews are all in enterprise. Everybody earns, Ajmal saheb spends,” he provides, giving an extended listing of Ajmal’s charity actions and political spends.
Speaking to ET Journal over the cellphone from Hojai, Badruddin Ajmal says he longer has an curiosity in enterprise. “I don’t know what our whole income is. I’m instructed our firms grew even throughout Covid. 4 of my sons are in enterprise. I need to groom my fifth son, Mohammed Ahmed, in politics,” he says.
Ahmed, who’s a hafiz, is the marketing campaign supervisor of his uncle Sirajuddin Ajmal, a candidate in Jamunamukh constituency. Ajmal has six sons and a daughter and the youngest is a university scholar.
In accordance with an affidavit filed with the Election Commission of India, forward of the 2019 Lok Sabha ballot, Ajmal’s particular person property had been over Rs 75 crore.
Publicly accessible paperwork affirm that Ajmal is a director of a minimum of 4 Mumbai-registered firms — Ajmal Fragrances and Fashions Pvt Ltd, Ajmal Holding and Investments Pvt Ltd, Belleza Enterprises Pvt Ltd and Ajmal Biotech Pvt Ltd. In all these firms, the second director is his brother and former MP Sirajuddin. In one other firm, Ajmal Estates and Properties Pvt Ltd, Sirajuddin is a director whereas the second director is their elder brother, Fakhruddin.
Badruddin is the third of 5 brothers; the eldest, Amiruddin, is predicated in Dubai, and the youngest, Ajmal Nazirul Haque, who oversaw their operations within the Center East, died a number of years in the past.
The household’s journey to profitable fragrance enterprise started in 1950 when Ajmal’s father, Haji Ajmal Ali, travelled to Mumbai to produce agarwood and their perfume Dahn Al Oudh. In Mumbai, he met a number of Arabs who had been seeking each spices and attar. Quickly he grew to become a premier provider of fragrances to international locations within the Persian Gulf.
In 1964, Haji gave his household title Ajmal to their fragrance merchandise. In 1976, he despatched his second son, Fakhruddin, to Dubai to arrange a store within the metropolis’s Murshid Bazaar locality, a transfer the household consolidated within the 1990s once they opened one showroom after one other in international locations throughout the Center East, together with Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
In addition they arrange a producing unit in Dubai and launched a restricted version of a high-end fragrance referred to as Dahn Al Oudh Maliki Al Qadim. In the meantime, the Ajmal household’s political clout grew within the UAE.
Dubai’s deputy ruler Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum inaugurated the corporate’s second manufacturing facility in 2004, signalling their rising affect with the political management. Till then, Ajmal and his fragrance empire had been barely recognized in Assam.
The following yr, 2005, he burst into politics, with the founding of AIUDF. It was shaped to assist folks impacted by a Supreme Court determination to scrap the Unlawful Migrants (Willpower by Tribunal) Act, 1983, a controversial legislation that shielded undocumented migrants. Ajmal immediately became a villain in most elements of Assam the place folks had vociferously demanded a repeal of the legislation.
“Even at this time folks of Assam are allergic to Ajmal. In higher Assam AIUDF has no base. But it surely has the potential to break its accomplice, Congress,” says BJP MP Kamakhya Prasad Tasa.
Will Ajmal once more odor political success? The bottle will likely be uncorked on Could 2.