Ahead of polls, party that rules Bodoland plans pan-Assam presence

Express News Service
GUWAHATI: BJP ally United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL), which heads the autonomous Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) in Assam, has plans to contest outside the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) in the Assembly elections, expected in April.

“The alliance hasn’t yet been finalised but there is a gesture that BJP and UPPL should fight the Assembly elections together. We will demand not less than 10 of the 12 seats in BTR,” UPPL president Pramod Bodo, who is also the BTC chief, said.

He said the UPPL workers were insisting that the party should field candidates outside the BTR. “We hope that we will be able to fulfil their wishes,” he said.

The UPPL-BJP-Gana Shakti Party coalition rules the BTC. They had grabbed power in December last year after defeating the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF).

The BPF had ruled the council ever since its creation in 2003 as a political solution to the Bodo agitation for a separate state. Led by former insurgent leader Hagrama Mohilary, the BPF was a BJP ally but the saffron party chose the UPPL over it for alliance in the BTC elections. The BPF had won all the 12 seats in the BTR in the 2016 polls.

The BTC chief said the priorities of the new council would be in sectors such as education, health, communication, and employment.

“There is also something called community happiness. We are giving importance to it. There are several communities in the BTR which are not happy. They are worried about their future uncertainties. We will work for their happiness,” Bodo said.

Committing to also work for corruption-free governance, he said the council has liabilities of Rs 2,300 crore but revenue is virtually nil.

“It is a huge liability. The previous BPF government embezzled funds left and right,” the BTC chief alleged. He said certain schemes, launched by the BPF, would be foreclosed.

“Instructions have been already passed. We have instituted a probe committee. Based on its report, we will clear the pending bills,” he added.