GUWAHATI: The equations surrounding the upcoming elections to the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) in Assam are fast changing.
Amidst speculations that the four factions of erstwhile insurgent group National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), which were among the signatories of third Bodo peace accord, will float a political party or back the regional United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL), it now appears that at least three factions will lend their support to ruling Bodoland People’s Front (BPF).
At a peace meeting, the People’s Joint Action Committee for Bodoland Movement convener Gorjon Mushahary claimed that the NDFB Dhirendra Bodo faction, B Saoraigwra faction and Ranjan Daimary faction would back the BPF in the polls. It is more or less certain that the fourth faction, led by Gobinda Basumatary, will side with the UPPL.
BPF leader and Assam Minister Pramila Rani Brahma, however, expressed ignorance on the move of the NDFB factions. An observer, who closely follows the Bodo politics, claimed that it was still not certain that the three NDFB factions would be with the BPF. These erstwhile rebel groups hold sway in Bodo areas and their support to any political party means a lot.
“I really don’t know if they (three NDFB factions) are going to back the BPF,” Brahma told this newspaper.
She expressed unhappiness over the suspense created by the BJP, which heads the state’s three-party ruling coalition, on its alliance with the BPF. Despite being an ally, the BJP has not yet made it clear on if it will align with the BPF in the BTC elections.
Brahma said, “The BJP feels it is going to gain a lot by aligning with the UPPL. It is unfortunate that despite being an ally of the BPF, they are weighing options”.
Given the suspense over BJP-BPF alliance and the fast-paced political developments, it would indeed be a huge morale booster if the three NDFB factions swim with the BPF which is facing an anti-incumbency wave. The BPF has been in power in the BTC ever since the autonomous council’s creation in 2003 following the Centre’s signing of second Bodo peace accord with erstwhile insurgent group Bodo Liberation Tigers which BPF and BTC chief Hagrama Mohilary headed.
The BTC will see a triangular contest among BPF, UPPL and the third force that is led by sitting independent Kokrajhar MP, Naba Sarania. The UPPL received a shot in the arms recently after Pramod Bodo, a signatory of the third Bodo accord and former president of All Bodo Students’ Union, had joined the party three days ago.
Meanwhile, ahead of the polls, violence has returned to Bodo areas. In two back-to-back incidents of violence, the miscreants had attacked the car of BTC chief’s wife and killed a BPF supporter.