M. Mochahari [The Password] January 19, 2015
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Kokrajhar visit completes BJP’s unhappy marriage with BPF. However, his maiden political journey into Kokrajhar and BPF’s high pitched talk about it fell flat today. It mostly left BPF workers redface as he didn’t promise the Rs. 1,000 economic package to BTC which they were eargerly expecting from the Centre. With this visit, after fatal defeat in Bihar elections, BJP bugled its electoral battle for the coming Assam legislative polls.
People say, “there is hardly a thing to be proud of his glorified visit to Bodoland.” Frankly, the floods of expectations among party workers dried too fast. “His 38- minute speech at Kokrajhar was limited to a fraction of the wish lists submitted by BPF leadership recently. Interestinlgy, Modi smartly recycled some of the old demands of Bodo agitators and presented them to the gatherings, mostly of BJP and BPF workers in order to draw their attention to ballot boxes. It was a peculiar case of an “old wine in a new bottle,” a trick that politicians often use to lure general publics.
I must say, Modi’s talks failed to excite the gathering at Bodofa field in Kokrajhar town today, including BPF workers who were blowing his trumpets for days and nights,” says Rakhao Baglary who drove 40-kms to attend Modi’s election rally at Kokrajhar town this morning.
“There is nothing for Bodoland. The demand for inclusion of Bodo-Kachariin in the Scheduled Tribe list in Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills districts, upgradation of Central Institute of Techonology (CIT), Kokrajhar to Central University etc are old demands, says another former hardcore BLT member. They are included even in the BTC Accord, 2003, but the Centre failed to executed even after laspse of 12 years.
Western Assam, including Kokrajhar, Chirang, Bongaigaon and Dhubri districts witnessed series of ethnic clashes in the recent past. Thousand of people have been displaced from their villages. Many are still in the relief camps, left to be frustrated for decades. Their generations have been lost in rutheless confrontations. There is a necessity for an urgent economic livelihood for people, however, both the Centre and State, and the dysfunctional BTC have no agenda to rehabilate and rebuild their shattered lives. They are clueless of the sufferings.
What disapointed BPF leadership is that Modi’s didn’t utter a single word about demand for Rs. 1,000 crore economic package to Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC). If promised, this could have impacted BPF’s political game before Assembly polls.
Instead of addressing the concerns of BTAD region, Modi went on to blame 15-year Congress rule of Assam. “Why does Assam have so many problems when the same government is there for 15 years and the State has sent a Prime Minister for ten years….They could not do anything in 15 years and now they want me to solve all their problems within 15 months? Don’t you think it’s unfair to me,” Mr. Modi said. Wasn’t it appropriate to also to question the BTC Administration which is equally responsibile for failing to administer the region for over a decade? It is alleged to have embezzeled Rs. 750 econmic package to BTC by Central government in th epast years. Although, the Council has jurisdication over three million people, it is suffering from inefficient administration and rampant corruptions.
“Modiji didn’t come to fulfil BPF’s wish lists, but to strengthen BJP workers in Bodoland led by Mono Kumar Brahma who was once Hagrama’s trusted arsenal,” feel another BJP workers in Bodoland. Mr Brahma wanted this mega event to happen to give fresh oxygen to his disgruntled BJP workers post BTC electoral fiasco.
BJP needs to penetrate deep into Bodo politics to increase its tally, if it wishes to snatch away power from Congress at Dispur. However, this new alliance is not going down well among a section of BJP workers in Bodoland. They want it go alone in the coming elections fearing that any alliance will only marginalised their presence in BTAD area.
In the last parliamentary elections, BJP promised to address the issue of Bodoland, but since coming to power, Modi has shown his historic silence. BJP forgot that it was the wholehearted support given by Bodo community that helped win seven out of the 14-Parliamentary seats in Assam. And, in the State elections, Bodos can impact the poll outcome in at least 20 constituencies. Therefore, to reach its target “Mission 84”, BJP needs a strong tie up with Bodo party.
What is even more unfortunate is that the peace talks with National Democratic Front of Boroland and Absu have reached its deadlock due to lack of political imagination of Modi government.The Centre talks of peace, but it does not have any political roadmap to take peace dialogues to a conclusive level.
His absolute failure to spell out solution on Northeast’s one of the oldest political debacles questions whether his is a Statesman who can sow the seeds of inclusive India? Let us see whether his calculated political move draws any positive result in the coming Assembly elections. It is unlikely to be a cakewalk even for BPF to strike the ballot boxes as there is a new political equations in Bodoland.