Since the Covid-19 pandemic began in March, this was the first election to be held in Assam.(PTI file photo for representation)
Since the Covid-19 pandemic began in March, this was the first election to be held in Assam.(PTI file photo for representation)

Drama continues after BTC polls results in Assam; lone Cong winner joins BJP

Wary of the BPF, BJP-UPPL-GSP combine keeps elected members at a Guwahati hotel.
Hindustan Times, Guwahati | By Utpal Parashar
UPDATED ON DEC 14, 2020 07:40 PM IST

Results of the election to Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) were announced on Saturday, but the political drama continues in Assam. With no party emerging as the clear winner in the 40-member council, which administers Kokrajhar, Udalguri, Baksa and Chirang districts (collectively called the Bodoland Territorial Region), parties are trying to keep their elected members together for fear of poaching.

Though Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) won 17 seats, the United Peoples’ Party Liberal (UPPL), which won 12 seats, joined hands with the BJP (9) and Gana Surakha Party (1) to cross the 21-figure mark needed to stake claim to power.

On Sunday, Governor Jagadish Mukhi, who was administering the BTR since March after election was deferred due to Covid-19, accepted the claim made by the UPPL, the BJP and the GSP to form the new executive council in BTC.

But wary of the BPF (which was in power in BTC for 17 years since 2003 till the promulgation of Governor’s rule this March), of poaching their members, the BJP-UPPL-GSP combine kept their newly elected members at hotel in Guwahati since Saturday night while keeping a tab on their phone calls.

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Despite being dumped by the BJP, its partner in the Assam’s ruling coalition, the BPF is said to be trying to win over some members from the UPPL or the BJP to form the next executive council in the BTC. The party needs just 4 members to reach 21.

“The BPF is trying to get in touch with our members and offering cash incentives to switch, but that’s not going to happen. Instead, many of their elected members are in touch with us and may join us soon,” UPPL chief and designated chief executive member (CEM) of BTC, Pramod Boro, told journalists on Monday.

Boro will take oath of office at Kokrajhar on Tuesday along with a few other members. The ceremony will be attended by Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and other dignitaries.

“Five members will take oath on Tuesday. Two of them will be from UPPL-a CEM and deputy CEM, two from BJP and one from GSP. The BJP is not staking claim to either the CEM or deputy CEM’s posts,” said state education and finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

In a related development, the lone Congress winner Sajal Kumar Singha, who won from the Srirampur seat, switched sides and joined the BJP on Monday in presence of Sarma and other senior party leaders.

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