The Congress and its ruling ally in Assam have parted ways “amicably” for the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) polls, slated for April 9.
The party shares power in the state with the Bodoland Peoples’ Front. At least 30 people have been killed since November 8 last year in internecine clashes in the four districts under the jurisdiction of the council.
Most of the victims were supporters of either the Bodoland Peoples’ Front (BPF) or the rival Bodoland Peoples’ Progressive Front (BPPF). The BPF is in power in the council.
But the past couple of days saw violent fights among BPF supporters, who torched party offices and burnt effigies of their leaders. The eruption followed the BPF’s decision to leave 12 of the council’s 40 seats to the Congress.
However, on Thursday, BPF chief Hagrama Mohilary – he heads the council also – “gave in” to popular demand and buried the seat-sharing agreement. “We will now field candidates in all the 40 seats in the council,” he said.
The BPPF and its regional ally, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), were quick to point to a ‘rift’ between the Congress and the BPF. But Congress spokesman Haren Das denied that.
“We have now opted for a friendly contest. And our party will put up candidates in only 15 seats, and not contest in the seats in which the top five BPF leaders are in the fray,” Das told Hindustan Times.
The BPPF, on the other hand, has inked a seat-sharing pact with the AGP.
The details of this arrangement are awaited.
The first elections to the BTC were held in 2005, two years the council was formed after an amendment to the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
The BPF, led mostly by former militants, won the council’s elections.