With less than six months left for the Assembly elections in Assam, the BJP has scored a major victory against the Congress by taking into its grip the Dima Hasao Autonomous Council (DHAC), although through defection. The person chosen to head the BJP-led Executive Council of the DHAC is Niranjan Hojai — a former dreaded rebel of Dima Halam Daoga (DHD) — who was chargesheeted by the NIA in a case in 2009.
Hojai, who won the support of 24 members in the 30-member Council at Haflong on Saturday, will be sworn in as chief executive member of the Council on Monday.
Hojai, former self-styled commander-in-chief of DHD — popularly known as Black Widow — was elected as an Independent member of the Council in May 2013 after he surrendered. He and eight other Independent and Congress members joined the BJP on October 9, reducing the Congress-led Council to a minority. The BJP, which had not won a single seat in May 2013, had earlier got seven Independents into its fold, all through defection.
Even after the BJP had staked its claim to form the Executive Council after its strength had gone up to 16, Governor P B Acharya summoned a special session of the DHAC on October 24, and asked Chief Executive Member Debajit Thaosen of the Congress to prove his strength. Thaosen, however, resigned.
Though Mahendra Kemprai of the Congress contested for the CEM’s post, he was defeated by Hojai with 24 of the 30 members voting in his favour. Only three of the six Congress members were present in the House during the election.
The Council has 30 members — 28 elected and two nominated by the Governor. Though the Congress had won 10 seats and formed the Council with the support of Independents in May 2013, the BJP, which had not won a single seat, first attracted seven and subsequently nine more members, thus raising its strength to 16.
Hojai, who was arrested by the NIA in Nepal in July 2010, was one of the main accused in the militant-politician nexus that had allegedly siphoned off development funds worth crores of rupees in Dima Hasao district. The investigating agency had booked Hojai under various provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.