In Assam, UPPL pips BPF in Bodo areas; BJP makes inroads - Hindustan Times
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In Assam, UPPL pips BPF in Bodo areas; BJP makes inroads

May 03, 2021 02:09 AM IST

On Sunday, all three of BPF’s ministers of the Sonowal cabinet lost their seats. The most prominent among the losers was Pramila Rani Brahma, a winner from Kokrajhar East continuously from 1991, who lost to UPPL’s Lawrence Islary.

For close to 20 years, Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) was the biggest political outfit in areas of lower Assam where most members of the Bodo tribe reside. Last December, United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) with the help of BJP managed to wrest control of Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), which was under BPF control for 17 years.

On Sunday, the UPPL gave another jolt to BPF by winning 6 of the 12 seats in the region. The BPF, which had won all the 12 seats in the past three elections had to be content with just 4 while BJP made its presence felt by winning 2 seats. (PTI PHOTO.)
On Sunday, the UPPL gave another jolt to BPF by winning 6 of the 12 seats in the region. The BPF, which had won all the 12 seats in the past three elections had to be content with just 4 while BJP made its presence felt by winning 2 seats. (PTI PHOTO.)

On Sunday, the UPPL gave another jolt to BPF by winning 6 of the 12 seats in the region. The BPF, which had won all the 12 seats in the past three elections had to be content with just 4 while BJP made its presence felt by winning 2 seats.

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BPF was part of the BJP-led coalition in the state and had three ministers. The party parted ways with BJP in the BTC polls in December and in this election the party joined the Congress led alliance. The BJP joined hands with UPPL.

On Sunday, all three of BPF’s ministers of the Sonowal cabinet lost their seats. The most prominent among the losers was Pramila Rani Brahma, a winner from Kokrajhar East continuously from 1991, who lost to UPPL’s Lawrence Islary.

“We were confident of a win and the hard work put by all workers and leaders paid off. Our task would be to ensure all round development of the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) in coming years,” said Islary after his win.

Senior leaders of BPF didn’t respond to calls for their reactions on the party’s poor show this time.

“The results show that the BPF is a spent force in BTR. The party was responsible for lack of development in the region. After the BTC polls, voters reposed faith in UPPL and BJP again,” said Rupam Goswami, BJP spokesperson.

Kaustabh Deka, professor of political science at Dibrugarh University said that since the assembly polls were held close to the BTC election, voters who had witnessed BPF’s rule for long wanted to give a chance to the UPPL-BJP combine.

“Maybe voters thought since UPPL had won the BTC polls along with BJP it would be better to support them in the assembly polls too. It would be interesting to see what the future holds for BPF as the party is not used to being out of power,” he said.

While the outcome hasn’t come as a surprise to UPPL and BJP camps, the BPF had failed to anticipate the results. Citing possibility of the BJP luring away their legislators by inducements, the party had taken their candidates for this election and kept them in a resort at Raipur in Chhattisgarh.

Like BPF, another Congress alliance partner All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) also took most of their candidates to Rajasthan for few days prior to declaration of results. Even the Congress, which was confident of a win, took nearly 75 of their 95 candidates and kept them in a resort outside Guwahati.

Sunday’s outcome showed that all those trips and claims of horse-trading were totally unfounded as BJP and its allies secured a comfortable win to return to power.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Utpal is a Senior Assistant Editor based in Guwahati. He covers seven states of North-East India and heads the editorial team for the region. He was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times.

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