Elections code of conduct stalls Centre-ULFA pact in Assam

  • Sanjib Kr Baruah, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 17, 2016 18:24 IST
Assam will vote in the assembly elections from April 4 and 11. (AFP file photo)

The BJP’s hopes of bettering its chances in the Assam assembly elections could falter with an expected agreement between the Centre and state government stalling over election code of conduct.

A delegation of the pro-talks faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) had been camping in the national capital until recently hoping to ink a framework agreement. The team has since gone back to Assam.

The Tarun Gogoi-led dispensation said the state government cannot be a party to the pact as it violates the election code of conduct since polls have already been announced.

The ULFA leadership was invited to New Delhi for a meeting on Monday — close on the heels of a round of talks between an ULFA delegation and Union home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi on February 29.

Read more: With an eye on Assam polls, Centre may sign peace deal with Ulfa

Such a pact would necessarily involve the ULFA, the Centre and the state government.

The agreement would have boosted the BJP’s chances in the polls scheduled on April 4 and 11.

A source privy to the ongoing negotiations told Hindustan Times that a final accord is on the verge of being signed as many items in the ULFA charter of demands have already been agreed upon, while differences are being worked upon.

“Issues like granting Scheduled Tribe status to six indigenous communities is being handled by a newly-appointed committee headed by a Union home ministry official to recommend the modalities as well as to safeguard the political interests of the indigenous people,” the source said.

Granting Scheduled Tribe status to these six communities will render Assam a tribal majority state and would entitle it to special safeguards — and also a way out to resolve the state’s problems arising out of reported large-scale immigration from Bangladesh which has affected the state’s demography. The six communities together represent more than 40% of the state’s population.


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