GUWAHATI: The historic third Bodo peace accord, signed on January 27, has made the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) nervous so much that the party asserted it would not accept it.
“The new accord only changes the name of BTC (Bodoland Territorial Council) to Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR). As it gives us nothing, we won’t use BTR as a part of our vocabulary,” BTC chief Hagrama Mohilary asserted.
The BPF has been ruling the autonomous BTC ever since its creation in 2003 in the aftermath of the signing of second Bodo peace accord between erstwhile rebel group Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) and the Centre. The previous elections were virtual cakewalk for the BPF.
The upcoming April elections, however, it is likely to face a challenge from four factions of erstwhile rebel group National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) and influential All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU), which, along with United Bodo People’s Organisation, had signed the recent accord with the Centre.
The BJP, which heads Assam’s ruling coalition, has already indicated it would not mind working with the new political party which the NDFB factions and the ABSU are likely to float. They have a solid support base in Assam’s Bodo areas and this was evident earlier this month when over 5 lakh people had turned up at a programme organised to celebrate the accord’s signing. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who attended the event at Kokrajhar, had said it was possibly the country’s biggest political rally post-independence.
The former rebel leader-turned-politician, Hagrama, is jittery that if all those groups come together to float a party or join the regional United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL), a party headed by former Rajya Sabha member UG Brahma, it will compound his problems. So, he is trying to belittle the latest accord and going after former ABSU president Pramod Bodo being projected as his bête noire.
“Pramod Bodo spoke only lies when he was in the ABSU. He will speak more lies if he comes to power,” Hagrama said two days ago. Pramod retorted: “Hagrama Mohilary is the new Mahatma Gandhi. He is the only one who speaks the truth”.
The BTC partially administers four lower and northern Assam districts such as Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri, all of them falling under Bodoland Territorial Area Districts. The Council has 46 seats, most of them reserved for tribals.