In a sort of snub to the Bharatiya Janata Party in Assam its coalition partner in the Sarbananda Sonowal government, the Bodoland Peoples’ Front has invited the leader of opposition in Bihar Assembly, Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, as the chief guest at the Bodoland Accord day function to be organised on February 10. The letter to the RJD leader in this regard has been written by Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) leader Hagrama Mohilary.
The Bodoland Accord was signed on February 10, 2003 after the Bodoland Liberation Tigers laid down arms and formed BPF. Under the Accord Bodoland Territorial Council was formed.
Though there are three BPF ministers still in the Sonowal cabinet the relationship with the BJP turned worse after the fourth Bodoland Territorial Council election held in December last year. The saffron party contested this election alone winning nine out of 40 seats. After the BTC election the BJP sided with Pramod Boro’s United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) and came to power in the BTC. However, in the forty member BTC, BPF is still the largest party with 17 members.
It needs to be mentioned that in January 2020 the Centre signed another Accord, this time with the National Democratic Front of Bodoland. The NDFB members laid down their arms after this latest Accord. As per the 2020 Accord the Centre agreed to reconstruct the BTC and its boundaries.
The BPF has 12 MLAs in the 126-member Assam Assembly. The ruling BJP has 60 while another alliance partner Asom Gana Parishad 14.
As the RJD and JD-U—both alliance partners then in Bihar—had in 2016 contested the Assembly election in alliance with All India United Democratic Front of Badruddin Ajmal, this year a Grand Alliance of six parties has been formed. The two major players in GA are Congress and AIUDF. It is not yet final whether the RJD will join the GA in Assam or not, but the talks are going on.
Independent political observers are of the view that if the BPF parts ways with the BJP in Bodoland the poll prospects of the latter may be affected.
By inviting BJP’s arch-rival, Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, the BPF has deliberately chosen to tease the saffron brigade. Thus, there is little prospect of reconciliation between the BJP and BPF before the Assembly election.