The regional party hopes to contest at least 10 Assembly seats within Bodoland as well as a few beyond
The United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) is expected to replace rival Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) as the second regional ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the upcoming elections to the 126-member Assam Assembly.
The other regional ally of the BJP is the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP).
“We hope to take our post-BTC election alliance to the Assembly elections. The alliance has not been finalised yet but there are gestures that we should contest the Assembly elections together,” UPPL president Pramod Boro told The Hindu.
Mr Bodo is also the Chief Executive Member of the 40-member Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) that governs the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) straddling 12 Assembly seats.
The BPF had won all the 12 seats in the 2016 State polls and formed a coalition government in Assam with BJP and the AGP. The BPF continues to be the BJP’s ally at the State level but the two parties severed their ties at the council level ahead of the BTC polls in December 2020.
After a fractured mandate, the UPPL, BJP and Gana Suraksha Party (GSP) got together to end the BPF’s 17-year reign in BTC.
“We want to contest at least 10 of the 12 seats in BTR and our party workers want us to contest outside BTR too. We hope things will work out when the alliance is finalised and the seat-sharing done,” Mr Boro said.
The BTC chief said that his three-party coalition government inherited a liability of Rs. 2,300-crore from the BPF regime.
“Funds were embezzled left and right during the BPF rule and many projects were left half-done. The council hardly generates any revenue to offset this huge liability,” Mr Boro said.
The fiscal burden, he added, made the council institute a probe committee.
“Based on its report, we will clear the pending bills, foreclose certain schemes, assess projects and slot them into two categories – necessary and unnecessary. Only the necessary ones will be pursued,” he said.
Necessity would also dictate the council’s priorities in education, health and communication sectors besides employment generation, Mr Boro said.
“We are giving importance to community happiness too. Many communities in the BTR are not happy. They are worried about an uncertain future. We want them to feel comfortable,” he said.
Many of 19 non-Bodo communities in the BTR were allegedly neglected during the BPF rule. The UPPL is considered more accommodative.
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