GUWAHATI: The BJP’s new-found ally United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) will contest in 11 seats in the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) in the upcoming Assam elections.
The BTR has 12 constituencies in four districts such as Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa, and Udalguri which are administered by the autonomous Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC).
The BJP and the UPPL will have friendly contests in three seats such as Bijni, Kalaigaon and Majbat. The UPPL is not contesting from the Panery seat where the BJP has fielded Rajya Sabha member Biswajit Daimary.
The UPPL, which is headed by former student leader and the incumbent Chief Executive Member (CEM) of the BTC Pramod Bodo, announced the names of eight candidates on Tuesday. Earlier, it announced the names of three candidates.
Urkhao Gwra Brahma -- a former MP, social worker and poet who is a recipient of the Sahitya Academy Award -- has been fielded from the Chapaguri seat.
The other candidates of the party are Somnath Narzary (Gossaigaon), Lawrence Islari (Kokrajhar East), Manaranjan Brahma (Kokrajhar West), Jayanta Basumatary (Sidli), Phanin Boro (Bijni), Leho Ram Boro (Tamulpur), Bhupen Boro (Barama), Ratendra Daimary (Majbat), Kamal Azad (Kalaigaon) and Gabinda Chandra Basumatary (Udalguri).
Gabinda Chandra Basumatary, a rebel leader-turned-politician is the Deputy CEM of the BTC.
In the 2016 elections, the BJP’s now-estranged ally Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) had won all the 12 seats in the BTR. Ditched by the BJP, the BPF has since joined the Congress-led grand alliance of Opposition. The ten-party alliance was formed with the sole aim of ousting the BJP from power.
The BPF had ruled the BTC for 17 years since its creation in 2003 as a political solution to the Bodo agitation for a separate state. In the BTC elections held in December last year, the BJP-UPPL combine had defeated the BPF and grabbed power.
The BPF had emerged as the single largest party by winning 17 of the BTC’s 40 seats but could not cobble up the numbers to retain power.