GUWHATI: Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, today criticised Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat over his comment on Assam-based political party AIUDF and said the armed force should maintain its non-political character. “We take pride in the fact that our Army is non-political unlike in some of our neighbouring countries. Since India’s Independence, the Army has been a non-political outfit. It should remain like that,” Azad said at a press conference here. The senior Congress leader said, “We have great regard for the Army — our protector. But it should not be concerned about which political party has grown or where it has got support from.” On February 21, Rawat had said the All India United Democratic Front’s (AIUDF) grew “faster” than the BJP in the 1980s. The Army chief was referring to reports of increase in the Muslim population in several Assam districts. At a seminar in the national capital, the Army chief had also said that a “planned” influx of people from Bangladesh into the Northeast is taking place as part of proxy warfare by Pakistan, with support from China, with an aim to keep the area disturbed. AIUDF president Badruddin Ajmal had alleged that Rawat had overstepped his “constitutional jurisdiction” while making the remarks.