Uncertainty looms large over Bodoland Territorial Council polls in April 2020

Uncertainty looms large over Bodoland Territorial Council polls in April 2020


GUWAHATI: Uncertainty looms large over the BTC (Bodoland Territorial Council) polls in April 2020 even though the State Election Commission (SEC) has already set in motion the poll process for the BTAD (Bodoland Territorial Area Districts) area. This is primarily because of the newly signed Bodo accord.

Created under the sixth schedule of the Constitution of India, BTAD consists of four districts — Kokrajhar, Baksa, Udalguri and Chirang. The last poll in BTC for a five-year term was held on April 8, 2015. And, as per this schedule the elections here should be slated in April 2020. However following the signing of the ‘Memorandum of Settlement’ of the Bodo peace accord, doubt remains as to whether the polls would be held in April this year.

This is despite the fact that the Assam State Election Commission had already notified the election officers, the returning officers and also the assistant returning officers for these polls on January 20, 2020. The Commission was supposed to publish the draft electoral roll on February 6, 2020. And, after the disposal of claims and objections, the Commission was to publish the final electoral roll of the BTC polls on March 5, 2020. This exercise was for the entire 40 constituencies under the four districts of BTAD.

However, as per the newly signed tripartite Bodo accord signed on Monday in New Delhi, the numbers of constituencies have been increased to 60 from the existing 40. The fact remains that if the BTC elections are held only for the existing 40 constituencies, the new Bodo accord will not have any meaning. On the other hand, to have polls for the increased 60 number of constituencies, the delimitation process to be undertaken by the Election Commission is a time consuming exercise.

Against this backdrop, it remains to be seen as to what step will be initiated by the Election Commission for the BTC polls this year. Besides, the third Bodo accord signed on Monday is silent as to when the constituencies would be increased: Before or after the BTC elections that is due in April this year.

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