GUWAHATI: The Gauhati High Court on Tuesday ordered a “composite floor test” in Assam’s autonomous Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) on or before December 26.
The single-judge bench of Justice Suman Shyam barred the new executive council, formed by the combine of BJP, United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL), and Gana Shakti Party (GSP), from taking any major decisions till the matter is resolved. The three parties had forged a post-poll alliance.
Earlier, six members were nominated to the BTC which administers four Assam districts such as Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa, and Udalguri. The court ruled that they cannot take part in the floor test.
On the day of the composite floor test, which is to be convened by the governor, new BTC chief Pramod Bodo of the UPPL and his predecessor Hagrama Mohilary of the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) or someone projected by the party will have to prove majority during voting. The BTC falls under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and the governor is its constitutional head.
The matter reached the court after Mohilary and some of his party colleagues had filed a writ petition in the court challenging the constitutional validity of the appointment of Pramod Bodo as the council’s Chief Executive Member (CEM), Gobinda Basumatary as his deputy, and three others as Executive Members.
The petitioners alleged violation of rules under Election Rules, 2004. They contended that since the BPF had emerged as the single largest party by winning 17 of the BTC’s 40 seats, it should have been invited by the governor to prove the majority.
Meanwhile, in order to keep their flock safe from any possible horse-trading, BJP, UPPL, and GSP shepherded their elected members to Meghalaya capital Shillong and the BPF to Bhutan.
In the 40-member BTC, BJP, UPPL, and GSP have altogether 22 members – nine from BJP, 12 from UPPL, and one from GSP. The lone member from Congress and one from BPF had later defected to the BJP
The BPF, which is a constituent of Assam’s BJP-headed coalition government, ruled the BTC for 17 years ever since its creation in 2003 as a political solution to the Bodo agitation for a separate state.