[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]S[/dropcap]couting for allies for the forthcoming Assam assembly polls, the BJP has joined hands with Bodo People’s Front (BPF), an influential tribal outfit representing the ethnic Bodo tribes that calls the shots in more than two dozen assembly segments in the state.
The alliance was formalized when BJP chief Amit Shah met with top BPF leaders including Chairman of the Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD) Hagrama Mohilary, Rajya Sabha MP Biswajeet Daimary, and Chandan Brahma. Assam BJP leaders, including newly-elected State president Sarbananda Sonowal and convenor of the election committee Himanta Biswa Sarma were also present along with BJP general secretary Ram Madhav.
A formal announcement might be made Monday evening or on Tuesday when Prime Minster Narenda Modi travels to Kokrajhar, the heartland of Bodo politics in Assam. The PM might make major promises for development of the BTAD, a key demand of the BPF. The BPF has 12 MLAs in the current Assembly.
“The alliance has been formed and a formal announcement will be made soon,” said a senior BJP leader.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he alliance with the BPF will give fillip to BJP’s poll preparations in the state. The BPF was an ally of the Congress for eight years. The alliance fell apart two years ago when the BPF accused the Congress of neglecting the interests of the state. However, it was widely believed that BPF moved towards the BJP after sensing that the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government faced 15 years of anti-incumbency and going with it would have adversely impacted the BPF poll prospects as well.
The BPF wanted the Modi government to agree to some of its preconditions for entering into alliance with the BJP. These include sanction of Rs 5,000-crore ($738.5 million) grant over the next five years for development of the Bodo areas. The Centre is understood to have agreed to most of the demands made by the BPF, though not in full.
Sources said that the Modi government will dole out Rs 100 cr for the development of Bodo areas over the next three years. The Centre also agreed to accord Scheduled Tribe-Hills status to the Bodo community living in Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao districts.
Shah also conveyed to the BPF leaders that the centre will l upgrade the Central Institute of Technology at Kokrajhar to a deemed university.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]M[/dropcap]eanwhile, the Bodoland People’s Progressive Front (BPPF), which is led by Rabiram Narzary, formally merged with the BPF on Sunday at a unification rally at Thulangapuri in Kokrajhar district. The merger ends period of hostility between Hagrama and Narzary.
After the formation of the BPPF in 2005, Narzary became its first president. The BPPF split the same year after Hangrama walked out of it and formed his own faction.
The BJP is expected to reach out to some other small outfits as well to make its presence felt in areas where it does not have much influence.
1. The conversion rate used in this article is 1 USD = 67.70 Rupees.