Updated: April 1, 2021 9:28:51 pm
The ‘maha jhooth’ (grand lies) of the ‘Mahajot’ (Congress-led grand alliance in Assam) will suffer a ‘maha haar’ (grand defeat), Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Thursday at a massive election rally in Kokrajhar, headquarters of the Bodoland Territorial Region in western Assam.
“Congress and its ‘mahajot’ have been shown the red card again,” said Modi, while adding that people trust the NDA for peace and security in Assam.
“This election is between mahajot’s mahajhooth and double engine’s maha-vikas,” said Modi, referring to BJP-led governments both at Centre and state as ‘double-engine’.
“For sustained development in Bodoland, our mantra is peace, progress and protection,” said Modi, while alleging that the Congress encourages encroachers and divides communities. The Modi-led government signed a peace and development accord with Bodo insurgent outfits in early 2020.
The Bodoland region, which is said to roughly make up at least 15 Assembly seats, goes to polls in the third phase on April 6. The political dynamics in Bodoland have undergone a shift in the recent past. The Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), which is an ally of the BJP in the outgoing state government with three ministers, and is led by influential Bodoland leader Hagrama Mohilary, has allied with the Congress’s ‘mahajot’.
The BPF holds 12 Assembly seats in the outgoing assembly and it going with the Congress is speculated to be a big boost for the grand old party. According to the NDA’s seat sharing, the United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) is contesting on eight seats while the BJP is on four — but with the UPPL putting up three more candidates, the two are in ‘friendly contests’ on three seats.
After the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) elections last year, the BJP broke ties with the BPF and came to power with UPPL, although it was the BPF that won the single largest number of seats at 17. The UPPL won 12 and BJP nine out of the 40 seats.
Garnering Bodo votes with the UPPL alliance, while battling Mohilary’s influence, will be the BJP’s biggest challenge in this crucial part of the third-phase elections. The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday issued a notice to senior Assam minister and key BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma for allegedly violating the model code of conduct by threatening to put Mohilary in jail through a NIA case.
Apart from Mohilary’s BPF joining the ‘mahajot’, a shot in the arm for the Congress is that the AIUDF, a party which enjoys support among Bengali-origin Muslims of the state, is a part of it. The AIUDF, led by MP Badruddin Ajmal, has a strong presence in the Bodoland region too. The BJP has repeatedly alleged that Ajmal and the AIUDF encourage unauthorised migration from Bangladesh.
PM Modi Thursday lashed out against the alliance and said, “Those people whom the Congress had protected earlier for its vote bank, today the Congress is dreaming of grabbing power with their help.”
Modi said the NDA was committed to the protection of Assam’s respect and culture and alleged the Congress looted Assam for decades.
Modi also talked about a video wherein the Assamese gamusa was allegedly insulted. He said those who love Assam were “angered and hurt” by the video. The mention is supposed to a reference to a tweet by CM Sarbananda Sonowal, of a video grab from a local TV channel showing Ajmal hastily throwing the gamusa at someone at an election rally.
“Badruddin Ajmal threw away Assam’s pride ― Gamosa, in utter contempt. This is INC’s & AIUDF’s design to humiliate & disrespect Assam’s culture & heritage. Strongly condemn it. We won’t allow our pride to be tarnished in such a way. People will give a befitting reply,” Sonowal tweeted.
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