BJP gets rid of its ally, joins UPPL and GSP to form the Bodoland Territorial Council

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |

Updated: December 13, 2020 8:56:10 pm

BJP abandons coalition partner in Assam, chooses new one to govern autonomous bodyAssam CM Sarbanada Sonowal announced that UPPL Director Pramod Boro will be the new Executive Director member of BTC. (Express file photo by Vignesh Krishnamoorthy)

the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) election results launched a Hanging House on Sunday even as the BJP virtually abandoned its ally in Assam, the BPF, to join the United Liberal Party (UPPL) and the Gana Suraksha Party (GSP) to jointly form the next council.

The Bodoland Popular Front (BPF), which has three ministers in the Sarbananda Sonowal-led coalition government in Assam, emerged as the largest party in the elections, winning 17 seats in the 40-member body.

The People’s United Liberal Party (UPPL) has won 12 seats, the BJP nine, while Congress and the Gana Suraksha Party (GSP), led by Lok Sabha MP Naba Sarania, each won one.

“The new 40-member Council will be headed by the head of the UPPL, Promod Boro,” Sonowal told reporters. Boro is the former president of All Bodo Students’ Union and was a signatory to the peace agreement earlier this year.

Explained | Why are BJP and its ally BPF fighting each other in Assam’s Bodoland Territorial Council polls?

The BTC is a self-governing and autonomous body under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, a special provision that allows for greater political autonomy and decentralized governance in certain tribal areas of the Northeast. It has under its jurisdiction four Bodo-inhabited districts of western Assam (Udalguri, Baksa, Chirang and Kokrajhar), together known as the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR).

Shortly after the results, Union Interior Minister Amit Shah congratulated the UPPL for winning 12 seats and also called the party an “ally” in his tweet. “I thank the people of Assam for their continued faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s determination towards a developed northeast,” he said.

“NDA is committed to serving the people of the Northeast. I congratulate our ally UPPL and BJP Assam for securing a majority in the Assam Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) elections, ”Prime Minister Modi tweeted.

BPF President Hagrama Mohilary said his party repeatedly appealed to the BJP to follow “coalition” rules and help it form a “government” in the BTC, but the BJP ignored the pleas, PTI reported. While the BPF and UPPL are seen as rivals in the Bodo-dominated areas, there was also no pre-election alliance between other parties.

Speaking at a press conference in Kokrajhar, the headquarters of the BTC, Mohilary, who had been the CEM for the last 17 years, said: “Since we are part of the state government in Dispur, I call on the BJP to help the BPF to form government in the BTC. We have not broken the alliance with the BJP and it should follow the coalition.

The BJP and BPF, along with the AGP, fought together in the 2016 Assam assembly elections in which BPF won 12 seats, winning everything they had contested.

The election to the Council was held after a new Bodo Agreement was signed in New Delhi on January 27 by the leaders of the four factions of the Bodoland National Democratic Front (NDFB): the then head of the Bodo Students Union (ABSU), Pramod Boro, then the head of BTC, Hagrama Mohilary, and the Chief Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal.

(With PTI inputs)

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