GUWAHATI: Taking a jibe at the BJP, its estranged ally Bodoland People's Front (BPF), which joined the Congress-led grand alliance of opposition parties on Saturday, said party conglomerate will be able to form the next government in Assam without having to poach MLAs from other parties.
"We will form the next government without 'borrowing' MLAs. You have seen it in BTC (Bodoland Territorial Council) elections. MLAs were kidnapped and taken to Shillong and Hotel Lily in Guwahati," insurgent leader-turned-politician and BPF president Hagrama Mohilary said on Sunday at a joint press conference of the grand alliance.
Exuding confidence that the coalition will get absolute majority in the upcoming Assam Assembly elections, he said it would drive out the ruling BJP and save the state.
"We need 65 (64) seats (in the 126-member House) to form the government. Our target is to win 70 seats," Mohilary said and wanted to continue but was interrupted by state Congress chief Ripun Bora, who said, “We have already asserted that our goal is to win 101 seats). The BJP has also set a goal of winning 100 plus seats together with allies Asom Gana Parishad and United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL).
"We strongly believe we can work together for peace, progress and unity. We will fight the elections together," Mohilary added.
The other components of the grand alliance are minority-based All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), CPI, CPM, CPI-ML and regional Anchalik Gana Morcha. This is for the first time that Congress and AIUDF have forged an alliance between them. It was always resisted by former Chief Minister the late Tarun Gogoi of the Congress for the fear of a possible setback in the Assamese-majority Upper and Northern Assam areas where a strong sentiment of Assamese sub-nationalism works.
Despite its alliance with the BPF in the three-party Assam government, the BJP had not tied up with the former in the BTC elections in December last year. When the polls had thrown up a fractured mandate, it forged a post-poll alliance with the UPPL. The two parties together with Gana Shakti Party had formed the council. Later, the Congress’s lone elected member and another from the BPF joined the BJP.
The BPF had won 17 of the 40 seats in the BTC to emerge as the single largest party, followed by UPPL 12 and BJP nine. The BTC administers four districts in Bodoland Territorial Region.
The elections in Assam will be held in three phases starting from March 27, then April 1 and April 6.