GUWAHATI: The Assam unit of the BJP is in no mood to continue its alliance with the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), thanks to its alleged tacit understanding with the United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL).
BJP stalwart and minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said his party's alliance with the BPF was for a period of five years and it would not be renewed following expiry. “The alliance was struck for five years. This means the BJP will not have any alliance with the BPF in the Assembly elections (due early next year),” Sarma asserted.
Three parties -- BJP, BPF, and Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) -- had come together ahead of the 2016 Assembly polls in the state. After ousting the Congress from power, they had formed a coalition government. The AGP had pulled out of the government during the height of protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) but returned to the fold within months when the CAA-triggered public anger partially subsided.
The BPF has been ruling the autonomous Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), which administers four districts falling under Bodoland Territorial Region, for 17 years since its creation in 2003 following the Centre’s signing of a peace accord with erstwhile insurgent group Bodo Liberation Tigers. The BTC elections, deferred earlier due to the pandemic, will be held next month.
The BJP is not happy over alleged largescale corruption in the BTC. “The people in BTR are fed up with large-scale misappropriation of central funds meant for beneficiaries during the BPF rule. There is a growing demand within our party to sever ties with the BPF. However, a final decision will be taken by our central committee,” BJP’s state unit chief Ranjit Kumar Dass said.
The general perception is that the BJP wants to wrest power in the BTC by aligning with the UPPL. The UPPL, which could not do much in the past BTC elections, got rejuvenated after former student leader Pramod Bodo had joined it as its president.
Led by Sarma, the BJP is campaigning very aggressively for the BTC elections. However, former rebel leader-turned-politician Hagrama Mohilary, who is the BPF chief, said there were no takers for Sarma’s brand of politics in the Bodo areas.
“Himanta Biswa Sarma knows nothing about the BTC. He can influence none in our areas with his bullying attitude,” Mohilary said.
The BPF was an ally of the Congress when the latter under former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi ruled the state.