The Bodo People’s Front (BPF) today ended its partnership with the ruling Congress party in Assam, with its president Hagrama Mohilary saying it was of no use remaining in the government “because we have failed to provide security of life and property to the people.”
“We have found that we have failed to provide basic security of life and property to the people living in the Bodoland Territorial Council BTC) area despite being a partner in the government. Moreover, we have found that the Congress had never cooperated with us, and had only indulged in ridiculing our party,” Mohilary said at a press conference at Kokrajhar today.
The decision of the BPF to withdraw from the ruling coalition was taken at the central working committee of the party held today. The withdrawal of the BPF, which has 12 legislators in the present state assembly, however does not affect the strength of the Congress which on its own has 78 MLAs in the 126-member House.
Mohilary also said that Chandan Brahma, the BPF’s lone minister in the Tarun Gogoi government, as also Parliamentary Secretary Rihon Daimary would submit their resignations with immediate effect. The BPF is the ruling party in the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), which has four districts – Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri – under its jurisdiction.
“We thought being in the government would immensely benefit people of the Bodoland districts. But forget about development, we even could not provide basic security of life and property. Incidents of kidnapping, extortion and killings have only increased instead of coming down,” Mohilary said, pointing out that law and order is a subject which is under the state government. He however said the decision had nothing to do with the dissidence in the Congress.
Interestingly, it was only two days ago that Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had said that he would be only too happy if the BPF withdrew from the alliance. “How can I forcibly keep them if they want to go? Let them go. I have no problem. I will be only too happy,” Gogoi had said. In December last year Gogoi hower had described the Congress-BPF alliance as a “bond like pure ghee.”
While Hagrama Mohilary, till 2003 chairman of the Bodoland Liberation Tigers (BLT), had in 2004 assumed charge of chairman of the interim Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), the rebels in 2005 formed the Bodoland People’s Progressive Front (BPPF) and won the first BTC elections. The BPPF suffered a split on the eve of the 2006 state assembly election, with Hagrama forming the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF). The faction headed by former All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) president Rabiram Narzary retained the original BPPF name.
The BPF, which won 10 seats in the 2006 assembly elections, became a post-election partner of the Congress after the latter won only 56 out of 126. While Tarun Gogoi had to accommodate three BPF MLAs in his second government in 2006, the Congress retained its partnership in 2011 despite winning a record 78 seats. This time however, the Congress gave only one ministerial berth to the BPF which on its own had won 12 seats.