Guwahati, Nov 21: Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), now rechristened as Bodoland Territorial Region, is facing a very crucial election this time which has the potential to alter the political equation rather the power equation in the area comprising four districts -- Kokrajhar, Baksa, Chirang and Udalguri -- dominated by Bodo tribe of Assam.
Since the formation of the BTC about 17 years back, it has been all along dominance of a single political entity called Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) in the BTC. Led by Hagrama Mohilary, the BPF during this entire period has managed to share power in Dispur too with his alliance with ruling parties here – first it was Congress and then BJP since 2016.
This election in BTC scheduled for two phases on December 7 and December 10, however, may see rise of other political entities to prominence in the Bodoland region.
United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) led by former All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) president Promode Boro has gone all out very vocal this time against the ‘17 years of misrule of the BPF in the BTC’ and hopes to win majority seats in the 40-member BTC executive committee after this election.
“Entire BTC area has 24 lakh voters and our party has 13 lakh members as on date as so many members of the BPF have joined us recently after getting disillusioned with the BPF-led by Hagrama Mohilary,” said Promode Boro who has accused the ruling BPF of indulging in gross misuse of Central development funds over the years.
The UPPL which promises changes for better besides creating employment in the BTC across various government and non-government sectors, is going it alone in the poll though there have been talks about possibility of it having a poll truck with the BJP.
“We are contesting the BTC election alone, there is no understanding whatsoever with the BJP which hasn’t yet approached us,” said the UPPL leader.
Besides the UPPL, the ruling BPF-led by Hagrama Mohilary is facing a belligerent BJP which is out to dig into deep ground in Bodoland area on its own instead of playing second fiddle to BPF.
The BJP has made it clear that it will contest BTC election on its own notwithstanding its ties with the BPF in Dispur. The BPF by virtue of its alliance with the BJP struck before 2016 Assembly election in Assam, has three ministerial berths under its grip in the incumbent state cabinet headed by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
An apparently unperturbed BPF chief Hagrama Mohilary has dismissed the BJP as a non-entity in the BTC and stated that BJP’s strategist and start campaigner Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma is not taken very seriously by people of Bodo areas. Hagrama has dared the BJP to drop its three ministers from the state cabinet if it was so keen to challenge the BJP in the ensuing election to the BTC.