What to Look Beyond Likely BJP-BPF Alliance?

Editorial [The Password]

POLITICAL DRAMA is beginning to unfold in Bodoland. BTC Chief Hagrama Mohilary’s attempt to shake hands with BJP seems to be backfiring its party workers. Media reports suggests that the party’s top functionary Chandan Brahma boycotted party’s public meeting over the issue recently. Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) needs this ally as the Centre’s financial aid to Council dried up. It has failed to provid Fund Utilisation Certificates to the Centre for years as result of which it has to be contended with the budgetary allocation of the Assam government. According to some BPF workers, there are two groups – one group wants to join hands with BJP and the other group favours a remarriage with Congress although it has severed its ties earlier. Each camp wants to take state in the next State government foreseeing that no party will get absolute majority in Assembly elections. This could be crux of the problem shaking the party, of late.

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Currently, BPF has twelve MLAs in the 126-member Assam Assembly. The party is making an aggressive effort to increase its tally in the Assembly polls by fielding candidates outside BTAD areas particularly in areas where tribal communities are majority. It can be seen in the formation of the United People’s Front (UPF) by BPF to mobilise tribal political groups in about 25-Assembly constituencies. However, this fragile grouping, is not delivering the type of results it expected. On the other hand, the general electoral moods in Bodoland, indicate that it is unlikely to retain even its current strongholds. Newly formed United People’s Party (earlier named as People’s Coordination for Democratic Rights), led by former Rajya Sabha MP and Absu president Urkhao Gwra Brahma is already gearing up to make its mark in at least six Assembly constituencies. Currently UPP has seven MCLAs in Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC). Its potential can hardly be ignored considering the grassroots networks among the Absu activists. What is even more disappointing is that the political nexus between BPF and National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB)-R is on the rocky ground. In the last BTC polls, NDFB supremo Ranjan Daimary played a crucial role in Udalguri district helping BPF to win in certain constituencies. This may be a distant possibility in the coming Assembly elections. People are expecting a new coalition emerging out of BPF’s mess anytime soon. As discussed in the public sphere, Ranjan Daimary’s influencial sister Anjali Daimary is likely to contest from Udalguri constituency currently held by BPF vice president Rihon Daimary. She is a lone Bodo woman activist who continues to be vocal on issues confronting the community and people in Bodoland.

Except BPF, since most parties including ABSU, UPP, NDFB (R) and NDFB (G) have a clear-cut long term agenda for Bodoland state, there is a feasibility of a new alliance formation prior to Assembly polls. People expect this sort of new political gambling in the wake of BJP attempting to join hands with Bodo party in order to defeat the political battle of the community. This possible unified move is crucial to take forward the demand for Bodo homeland. Absu extended tremendous support to BJP in the last General elections. Unfortunately, Modi government failed to initiate the process of creating Bodoland. No meaningful political dialogue was even held to find a sustainable solution to Bodo debacle. Even peace dialogues with NDFB revolutionary factions practically stopped due to lack of positive response from the Union govt. In such a situation, does it deserve out mandate? The obvious answer is “No”. Are the Bodo political outfits willing to critically comprehend this situtation?

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According to an unofficial source, BJP is likely to announce one time Rs. 2,000 financial package to BTC during Modi’s visit to Kokrajhar on 19 January. Will Bodo political leadership settle for this peanut? How is this little package going to address the concerns of over three million people living in BTAD areas? Think about it, folks.

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