GUWAHATI: Close on the heels of Centre’s signing of historic third Bodo peace accord, Assam’s Bodo heartland is likely to see the birth of a political party.
It will be midwifed by all four factions of the erstwhile insurgent group National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) which were among the signatories of the accord.
Speculations were rife that they will vie for political space and the speculations got strengthened as they are meeting on February 12. The All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) and the United Bodo People’s Organisation (UBPO) are the other signatories of the accord. It is still not clear if the ABSU or the UBPO will have any stake in the formation of the party.
The ABSU confirmed the meeting of the NDFB factions would be held “in a day or two”. The student body said it was obvious the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), which rules the autonomous Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), would be nervous over the latest developments.
In the absence of a formidable opposition party, the BPF has been ruling BTC ever since its creation in 2003 in the aftermath of erstwhile rebel group Bodo Liberation Tigers’ signing of the second Bodo peace accord with the Centre.
With BTC elections scheduled for April this year, the new political party, if at all floated, is likely to throw up a challenge to the BPF which is an ally of the BJP and a constituent of the state’s BJP-led ruling coalition. The BPF sought to put up a brave face.
“I heard the four NDFB factions will meet and that they will float a political party. Every individual or organisation has a democratic right to do so. But even if they form one, they will not be able to unseat the BPF. The new party will not be a factor for us,” former rebel leader-turned-BTC chief, Hagrama Mohilary, told journalists.
Assam Minister and BPF leader Pramila Rani Brahma said the BPF would not mind if the party is floated.
“Our only appeal to them is that whatever they do, they should keep in mind the interests of all communities living in BTC. We will not create any hurdles for them and they should also not create any for us,” she said.
All previous BTC elections were virtual cakewalk for the BPF. Congress and BJP hardly have any base in areas falling under the Council. There are some regional parties there but they could never put up a fight to the BPF. However, the poll scene is likely to change this election around as the NDFB factions enjoy mass support. This was evident in the recent rally in Kokrajhar, organised to celebrate the signing of third Bodo accord, where over 5 lakh people had turned up. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who attended the event, had said it was possibly the country’s biggest political rally post-independence.