Intro: The Assam unit of BJP, refreshed with the success in State Civic Polls, has already announced that it would go alone in BTC elections and field its own candidates in all 40 seats.
After winning seven Lok Sabha seats out of 14 Parliamentary Constituencies in Assam, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has eyed for more grounds in Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) elections scheduled for April 8.
The political analysts believe that anti-incumbency factor would harm the prospect of the ruling Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) in polls. The BPF President and also the chief executive member of BTC, Hagrama Mohilary, however claimed that he would form the next council in Bodoland Territorial Autonomous Districts (BTAD) in northern and western Assam to continue the pace for all-round developments. Talking to media persons after filing his nomination papers, Mohilary said peace and all-round development of the region would be the main poll plank of the BPF which would win by a huge margin. He is hopeful of a peaceful elections this time and predicted a clean sweep for the BPF. Kampa Borgoyari, Deputy Chief of BTC, Hemendra Nath Brahma, ex-MLA, top leaders of BPF and hundreds of supporters accompanied him to the office of the returning officer.
|Peace and all-round development of the region would be the main poll plank of the BPF which would win by huge margin.|
The BTC is a territorial council comprising four Assam districts namely Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri. It came into existence in December 2003 as part of the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (Bodo Accord) between the governments in New Delhi and Dispur and the Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) leaders, which was led by Hagrama Mohilary. It is an autonomous administrative unit inside Assam, constituted under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India with 46 territorial council constituencies.
Soon after the accord, an interim council was formed in 2003 and the first BTC elections was conducted in 2005, where the BPF won the majority seats in the council to run the administration. The ruling BPF also maintained the voters’ mandate in 2010 elections, though it had electoral ties with the Congress, which is in power at Dispur for over 14 successive years. The last BTC polls gave 32 seats to the BPF, were the Congress won three, Bodoland People's Progressive Front (BPPF) got one, United Democratic People’s Front one and independent candidate’s altogether won three seats.
Assam Chief Electoral Officer Harendra Bora recently informed that a total of 20,64,099 eligible electorates would be able to exercise their franchise in 40 constituencies, where six members would be nominated by the State Governor from unrepresented communities. Bora also added that re-polling, if any, would be held on April 10 and the counting of votes would be completed on April 11. The State Election Commission has meanwhile imposed restriction on conducting any opinion/exit polls on the poll date.
Other recognised political parties, which are pinning hope in BTC polls, include the Congress, which had already snapped ties with the ruling BPF to file their party candidates in all seats, and also Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) with other relatively smaller parties. BJP’s Assam unit president Siddartha Bhattacharyya claimed that the development was crippled in BTC during the BPF’s ten years rule and hence the people are waiting for their turn to change the guards in Kokrajhar. Many prominent BPF leaders have already joined the saffron party to vindicate his expectations.
Meanwhile, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Hari Shangkar Brahma, who incidentally hails from Kokrajhar, expressed confidence that the BTC polls would be free and fair, where the electorates would go for brisk voting in massive numbers to elect their representatives to run the administration successfully.
NJ Thakuria (The writer is a Guwahati based Correspondent)