The Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) has lost the power in Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) after ruling the council for 17 years since its inception. Although the BPF emerged as the single largest party, it could not touch the halfway mark, making way for its ally in state government BJP to grab power with its rival Bodo party United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL).
The BTC elections had taken place in two phases on 7th and 10th December, and the votes were counted on 12th December. Out of total 40 seats in the council, BPF managed 17 seats, why UPPL won 12 and BJP won 9 seats. Congress won only one seat in the elections.
BPF is a member of NDA, and is part of the BJP led government in the state with three cabinet ministers. But BJP had fought against BPF in the elections, with NEDA convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma leading the campaign.
In the primarily 3-corner contest, BPF still managed to win 17 seats despite anti-incumbency and allegations of corruption due to split in anti-BPF vote between BJP and UPPL. But both the parties still have 21 seats together, and they are set to form the next government in the autonomous council, with UPPL chief Promod Boro expected to become the Chief of the Executive Committee of the BTC.
However, current chief Hagrama Mohilary is still expecting to retain power, claiming that their alliance with BJP has not ended, and BPF will form the Executive Committee with the support of BJP. He has appealed to the BJP to not break the alliance, and requested BJP to help BPF in forming the next council. But both the BJP and UPPL leaders have already started preliminary talks on forming an alliance, and it is unlikely that BJP will go back to BPF. However, nothing has been finalised yet.
BJP led by Himanta Biswa Sarma had launched a massive attack on ruling BPF during the election campaign, and had also said that their alliance with BPF will also not be renewed for the assembly elections next year.
BJP had alleged massive corruption in the council. Sarma had alleged that money sent from centre and state were pocketed by the council members. BJP had also criticised the move of Hagrama Mohilary led council to scrap elections in Panchayats and urban bodies in the region. Instead of elected Panchayats, the villages in Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) have Village Council Development Committees (VCDC) formed by nominated members. Suspension of land registration in BTR had also came under criticism from both BJP and UPPL.
The Bodoland Territorial Council, and autonomous council under the sixth schedule of the constitution, was formed in 2003, marking the end of both violent and non-violent movements by Bodo organisations demanding a separate state for the Bodo tribe called Bodoland. Hagrama Mohilary is heading the council since its inception.
The term of the last Council ended in April this year, and the elections were scheduled to take place on 4th April. But when campaigning for the election was going on, the election was postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. As a result, governor’s rule was impose in the region.
The Bodoland Territorial Region consists of four districts on Western Assam on the north bank, Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri.