GUWAHATI: Assam’s Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) is faced with an extraordinary situation in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
The autonomous BTC, which administers four districts of Lower and Northern Assam, was scheduled to go to election on April 4 but it was deferred indefinitely due to COVID-19 pandemic. The BTC’s term will expire on April 27 and the political parties are divided on the issue of extension of the term.
The BTAD falls under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and the governor is the region’s constitutional head.
Most parties, including BJP, are opposed to the extension of the term of the current general council. The BJP appealed to Governor Prof Jagdish Mukhi to impose Governor’s rule in BTAD on the grounds that there was no possibility of holding the polls at this time of COVID-19.
After discussing the matter with Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, a BJP delegation met the governor and appealed to him for the imposition of Governor’s rule.
Opposition Congress and All Bodo Students’ Union are also opposed to the extension of the term.
However, BJP ally Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), which has been in power in the BTC ever since its creation in 2003, favours the extension of the council’s term.
The BPF insisted the term be extended by six months or there should be an election. Party leader and Minister Pramila Rani Brahma said the election could be conducted as there was not a single case of COVID-19 in BTAD.