|BJP-BPF alliance faces uncertainty|
R Dutta Choudhury
GUWAHATI, Oct 17 - The future of the alliance between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) has become uncertain as several major differences of opinion have cropped up between the two parties, even as the BPF is not happy with the imposition of Governor’s rule in the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC). The BPF, with 12 members in the Assam Legislative Assembly, has three Ministers in the Cabinet, but the party has not yet decided whether the alliance will continue in the 2021 Assembly polls.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, BPF general secretary Prabin Boro said, “Till date we are in the alliance. But we are not sure whether the alliance will continue in the next Assembly polls. We will not approach any party with proposal for alliance. If any party approaches us, we will discuss among us and take a decision.” Boro admitted that several major differences have cropped up between the BJP and BPF in recent times. He revealed that when the election to the BTC was announced, the BPF decided to leave aside two seats for the BJP. But it was the BJP which decided to break the alliance in the BTC and fielded candidates in 26 of the 40 seats. The BJP leaders also announced that the alliance in the Assembly was for five years only.
The second major difference cropped up when the elections to the BTC had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Boro said that the BPF had requested the State government to extend the term of the existing Council till the elections are held. Chandan Brahma, minister in-charge of welfare of plains tribes and backward classes, also wrote to the Chief Minister in this regard, but the government decided to impose Governor’s rule without consulting the BPF.
Boro said that the State government organised an all-party meet to discuss holding of polls to the BTC on October 6 where all the parties demanded that there should not be further extension of Governor’s rule, which would end on October 28 and elections should be held before that time. But the State Health Minister announced before the meeting that the polls to the BTC would be held only in December and later the State Cabinet also decided that the polls would be held in December. This proved that the all-party meet was mere eyewash and the government had taken a decision to extend the term of Governor’s rule before the all-party meeting.
The BPF general secretary said that the party has decided to field candidates in at least 20-26 constituencies outside the BTC in the 2021 Assembly polls and preliminary works in the identified constituencies to strengthen the base of the party has already started.