From Bhupen Goswami
GUWAHATI : The BJP has suffered a major setback ahead of the upcoming assembly elections in Assam. The Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), which has been a BJP ally in the Assam government for the last five years, has now decided to join hands with the Congress-led coalition, breaking the alliance with the NDA. The BPF has had a strong base in the Bodoland belt and has been winning all the 12 seats in Bodoland since 2006. Earlier, Assam Finance Minister and convener of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), Dr. Hemant Biswa Sarma had said that BJP is not willing to maintain alliance with BPF in the assembly elections.
In fact, the BJP and the BPF had some time last year when the BJP had entered the Bodoland Territorial Council elections without DPS. The BJP had already announced that it had aligned with the newly formed United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) led by pramod Pramod Bodo, leader of former Bodo students and chief executive member of Bodoland Regional Council (BTC). It is noteworthy that the opposition Grand Alliance of six Congress-led parties in Assam was expanded. The alliance also included the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), which further strengthened its position against the BJP in the three-phase assembly elections in Assam. The Congress had earlier formed a grand alliance with AIUDF, CPI, CPI (M), CPI (male) and Zonal Gana Morcha (AGM) to contest the assembly elections firmly against the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The BPF and RJD joined the alliance to strengthen the anti-BJP group.