BTC Election : 'Bodo Pride’ Under Spotlight | Assam News

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BTC Elections: 'Bodo Pride’ Under Spotlight as BJP Promises Equal Land Rights for Non-Bodos

G Plus News | December 02, 2020 17:33 hrs

GUWAHATI: As the election campaign reaches its final phase in Bodoland for the territorial council polls, it’s the `Bodo Pride’ which is under the spotlight with the mainstream parties like Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) jumping in the ring, promising equal land rights for the non-Bodos who are a potent electoral force in the area.

“All these years, mainstream parties like Congress, BJP stayed away from mingling in the affairs of the Bodoland. It was mostly c
ontrolled by the Bodo leaders. But this time around, they are turning the tables, especially BJP, which is trying to mainstream the Bodo politics. The resultant effect will be a wedge between Bodos and non Bodos in the area,” Professor Monirul Hussain, who has authored a book on the Assam Movement told G Plus.

The Bodo Peoples' Front (BPF), led by the insurgent turned politician, Hagrama Mohilary, which ruled the council for three terms since its inception, is pushing hard to reignite the local sentiment.  

“Actually, by raking up the issue of land rights for non-Bodos, BJP has gifted a huge opportunity to BPF leadership to make a comeback in the election plank, which otherwise was facing huge anti-incumbency,” a local BPF worker from Tamulpur area in the Bodo Territorial Region (BTR) told G Plus. 

The sixth schedule of the Constitution of India was tweaked to form the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) in 2003 after the signing of the peace accord between the Centre and the Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT), ending a decade long insurgency - an accord which was seen by many as tilted towards the Bodo population.

“In fact, it’s the `Bodo pride’ which was the centrepiece of the Bodo peace accord in 2003 which pushed BLT to scale down their demand from a separate statehood to an independent autonomous council. Interestingly, the accord was signed by the Vajpayee-led BJP government and now the same party is out to nullify it,” Hussain added. 

Elections to the 40-member BTC will take place in two phases on December 7 and 10, and votes will be counted on December 12, election officials said.

Altogether 72 candidates are in the fray for the 40- member Council the term of which ended on April 27 last.

For the BTC elections, the United People's Party Liberal (UPPL) is contesting in all the 40 seats, BPF 37, Gana Suraksha Party (GSP) 35, BJP 26, Congress 13, and All India United Democratic Front  (AIUDF) 7.

The BTC polls were deferred on March 20 by the Assam State Election Commission due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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