BJP eyes Bodoland council, hints at dumping ally

The council was dissolved after the elections scheduled in April were deferred due to the COVID-19 pandemic

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is eyeing the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) where elections, deferred due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are expected to be held in December.

Assam Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the BJP would contest the elections to the 40-member council alone, hinting at the widening gap between the saffron party and the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), one of the two regional partners in the government it heads.

The BPF had been ruling the BTC comprising four districts since February 2003, until the council was dissolved after the expiry of the last five-year term on April 27. The dissolution followed the deferment of the elections, earlier scheduled on April 4, due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

“As in the other autonomous councils of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao, we are looking at forming the government in BTC, which will bring about a complete transformation for the development of the areas administered by the council,” Dr. Sarma said during a meeting of the BJP Scheduled Tribe Morcha in western Assam’s Kokrajhar district on October 13.

He later said the alliance with the BPF would depend on how things pan out.

“Our relationship with the BPF at the State level is still intact. We are hopeful of good ties with the BPF and AGP (Asom Gana Parishad) in the next five years as well but the alliance will depend on the prevailing situation,” he said.

The Minister also downplayed speculations about a few BJP legislators and senior leaders joining the BJP. “We cannot say anything about the internal matters of another party,” he said.

The BJP and the BPF have reportedly been drifting apart since the signing of the new Bodo peace accord in January with all the factions of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB). Leaders of the influential All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU), aligned against the BPF leadership, had played a key role in the accord.

There are allegations that the BJP has been cultivating the leaders of the disbanded NDFB factions as well as the BPF’s rival United People’s Party Liberal headed by former ABSU president Promod Boro.


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