A group of former Ulfa rebels has formed a loose political forum to contest what is expected to be one of the most keenly assembly polls in the state next year.
The All Assam Surrendered ULFA Samittee (AASUS) has at least 10 of the 126 assembly seats on its sights. It would also be backing a new regional party named Asom Sangrami Mancha in the other constituencies.
“We have decided to contest the polls since no political party has taken the issue of proper rehabilitation of those who bid farewell to arms,” AASUS president Raj Kumar Dowarah said at a media briefing on Tuesday evening.
He added that most members of the Sulfa– a term used to describe the surrendered Ulfa rebels -- were finding it difficult to sustain their families without jobs and support from the government. “The cases against us have also not been withdrawn, as promised.”
According to Dowarah, only 165 of 7,392 ULFA cadres who laid down arms since 1992-93 were given ex-gratia of R1.5 lakh each by the government.
Facing similar issues, ex-rebels in Mizoram stopped short of contesting polls but have impacted polls by switching allegiance to political parties.