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BPF to support BJP and allies in Assam Assembly: Himanta

Sarma added that the BJP had taken consent from its Bodo ally UPPL before making the decision.

Written by Tora Agarwala | Guwahati |
January 23, 2022 9:58:57 pm
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa SarmaAssam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma (file photo)

The Hagrama Mohilary-led Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), which had snapped ties with the BJP ahead of the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) elections in December 2020 and allied with Congress-led Mahajot for the 2021 Assembly elections, will now support Himanta Biswa Sarma-led government in the Assam Assembly.

Addressing a press conference in Guwahati, Chief Minister Sarma said that the Opposition Bodo party had been “admitted as one of the BJP-led government’s partners in the Assam Assembly.”

“We will have total floor coordination with the BPF… they will sit with the ruling party in the Assembly,” Sarma said, adding that this “friendship was confined to the Assembly.”

“The decision has been taken at the level of the legislature party. It does not mean the BJP and the BPF have formed a political alliance. This is an agreement between the BJP legislature party and the BPF legislature party,” he clarified.

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The total strength of the ruling party and its allies would now go up to 81. The BPF holds three seats in the current Assembly. The BJP has 62, and allies Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) have nine and seven seats each, respectively.

Sarma added that the BJP had taken consent from its Bodo ally UPPL before making the decision.

Former rebel Mohilary’s alliance with the Mahajot was one of the biggest political developments ahead of the 2021 elections. Prior to that, the BPF was in alliance with the BJP both in the autonomous BTC as well as in the Sarbananda Sonowal-led government in Dispur. The two also fought the 2019 Lok Sabha polls together.

However, friction between Sarma and Mohilary in 2020 led them to snap ties, and the UPPL, led by student leader Pramod Boro, joined hands with the BJP. They contested both BTC polls in December 2020 and later, the Assembly election in April 2021 together.

Speaking to indianexpress.com, a BPF leader, who did not want to be named, said that the decision had been taken in the party Central Working Committee.

“Our (three) MLAs will not sit in the Opposition bench. If the ruling party requires any support in a decision, we will extend it. Nothing apart from that. Outside the Assembly, we are still in Opposition,” he said.

After the Congress snapped ties with Mahajot partner AIUDF in September, the BPF, too, had said it was no longer part of the grand 10-party alliance.

The BPF politician said that it was more “beneficial, convenient and easier to get work done” if they were with the ruling party, and thus the decision was taken.

Sarma welcomes ULFA-I move not to boycott Republic Day

CM Sarma termed the decision of the United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I) not to call for a boycott on Republic Day as a “welcome gesture”.

“Such confidence-building measures may lead to a formal discussion between the ULFA and the Government of India in future,” said Sarma.

On Saturday, the Paresh Baruah-led ULFA-I issued a statement declaring that it will not call for the customary bandh on January 26, citing the Covid-19 pandemic.

The statement, however, urged people to wear black badges on January 26 to register their protest.

Ahead of Independence Day in 2021, the group had done the same — in what was described as a break from tradition.

In his first press conference after taking oath as the chief minister, Sarma had appealed to Baruah to shun violence. After that, the group declared a unilateral ceasefire for three months, and has extended it twice since.

Since May, both the CM and Baruah have been hinting at the possibility of a dialogue. However, the latter’s demand for sovereignty remains a roadblock in the process.

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