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BJP’s estranged ally BPF joins Congress-led Mahagathbandhan in Assam

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Guwahati, March 1 (IANS) A day after snapping ties with the ruling BJP, the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) on Sunday joined the Congress-led grand alliance to fight the Assembly polls against the saffron party with the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ leaders urging the other local parties to join it.

The leaders of the Mahagathbandhan said on Sunday that its chief ministerial candidate would be decided in consultation with the other constituents of the alliance after the Assembly elections are over.

With the joining of the BPF led by vteran tribal leader Hagrama Mohilary, the number of parties in the grand alliance rose to seven.

AICC Secretary Anirudh Singh told the media that with the joining of the BPF in the Congress-led grand alliance, the aspirations of the people of Assam are about to find a voice.

Assam Congress President Ripun Bora claimed that it is certain that the Congress-led alliance will come to power on May 2 after the polls in March-April.

“RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav during his two-day visit to Assam on Friday and Saturday held meetings with us and assured to campaign for the ‘Mahajot’ in the elections,” Bora told the media.

Anchalik Gana Morcha (AGM) leader and Rajya Sabha MP Ajit Kumar Bhuyan said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and other party leaders are frequently visiting Assam which proves that the BJP is going to lose the elections.

CPI (ML) leader Pankaj Das said that with the joining of the BPF in the Mahagathbandhan, the victory of the grand alliance in the ensuing Assembly elections is 200 per cent ensured.

The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) organisational general secretary Aminul Islam, CPI-M state secretary Deben Bhattacharjee, CPI state secretary Munin Mahanta also expressed confidence to form the government in Assam, ousting the BJP.

The Congress, which was in power in the state for 15 years (2001-2016) until the BJP led alliance came to power in Assam in 2016, had earlier formed the Mahagathbandhan with three Left parties — CPI-M, CPI and CPI-ML — as well as the AIUDF and the Anchalik Gana Morcha, two regional parties having a political base among the Muslims and indigenous people, respectively.

The Congress and the AIUDF had fought separately in 2016, managing to win 26 and 13 seats, respectively.

In a significant political development on Saturday, BJP ally BPF had announced to snap ties with the saffron party.

The ruling BJP in Assam since 2016 had an alliance with the BPF, which still has three ministers in the Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal-led government.

The BJP, after the Bodoland Territorial Council polls in early December last year, had forged an alliance with new ally United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) after discarding incumbent partner BPF.

The BJP has decided to fight the polls in western Assam’s tribal dominated Bodoland area in alliance with new ally UPPL besides Asom Gana Parishad.

In 2006 and 2011, the BPF was part of the Congress-led government in Assam, but before the Lok Sabha polls in 2014, the party broke ties with the Congress.

BPF leaders claim that its support ensured that the BJP won as many as 27 Assembly seats in the 2016 polls. The BPF won all the 12 seats of Bodoland areas in 2016.

Another regional alliance comprising Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP), Raijor Dal and few other local parties formed a third front to take on both the BJP and the Congress led alliance.

The elections to the 126-member Assam Assembly will be held in three phases on March 27, April 1 and April 6. The results will be declared on May 2.




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