GUWAHATI: In the second-phase Assembly polls slated on April 1, it will be a straight fight between the Hagrama Mohilary-led BPF (Bodoland People's Front) and the Pramod Boro-led UPPL (United People's Party Liberal) in the BTR (Bodoland Territorial Region).
The BTR has 12 LACs (Legislative Assembly Constituencies). The BPF had won all the 12 seats in the 2016 Assembly election. This time, the BPF is in the poll battle in alliance with the Congress. It is going to field candidates in all the 12 BTR LACs.
On the contrary, the UPPL is going to fight in 11 of the 12 BTR seats. It will have friendly contest with the BJP in three of the 11 seats, namely Majbat, Kalaigaon and Bijni. It has left the Paneri seat for the BJP that has fielded Biswajit Daimary. Daimary joined the BJP recently.
The BTC (Bodoland Territorial Council) poll held three months back is a pointer to the strengths of various parties in the Bodo region. Despite the ruling BJP throwing its full weight behind the UPPL, the BPF came out as the single largest party with 17 seats in the 40-member Council. While the UPPL came second with 12 seats, the BJP came third with nine seats.
The BJP 'dumping' the BPF — after a successful five-year alliance — has stirred up Hagrama Mohilary's ego. Ruling the BTC for long 17 years, Mohilary did earn an anti-incumbency wave. Against all odds, the BPF came out to be the single largest party in the BTC poll. This speaks volumes of his grip in the BTR.
This is not all. There is a sizeable Bodo population from Sonitpur to Jonai especially in the districts of Dhemaji, Karbi Anglong, and Golaghat among others. As usual, Hagrama Mohilary has been campaigning in all these constituencies for Congress-alliance candidates.
However, the situation is different for Pramod Boro who came to power in the BTC three months back. If he cannot wrest the maximum number of BTR LACs in this election, his foothold at Dispur will be weaker.
According to sources, the essence of Hagrama Mohilary's popularity lies in the fact that he had alliance with both the Congress and the BJP with his head held high. He is still a force to be reckoned with.
For the UPPL, the strength lies in the fact that the entire government machinery is behind his party. Apart from this, he has the blessings of star campaigners who've lined up to address the rallies of UPPL.
According to political pundits, Kokrajhar West, Korajhar East and Majbat may prove to be "Waterloo" for the BPF this time. The target for the BPF is to get eight out of the 12 BTR seats, a total that may let it enjoy the leverage in the formation of the government at Dispur.
Interestingly, the verbal dual going on during the poll campaigns in the BTR is between State Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Hagrama Mohilary. However, UPPL president Pramod Boro is not in the scene.
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