BJP to change ally in poll-bound Assam

Old political alliances are being overhauled and new ones are being forged in poll-bound Assam. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to replace the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), one of its two regional allies, with the United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL), in areas under the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) for the upcoming Assembly elections.

The State BJP confirmed the change of allies around the time the newly-formed Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) and Raijor Dal found a common ground — opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act — to get closer to a pre-poll tie-up.

The AJP evolved from the same student organisations as the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), the BJP’s other regional ally, 35 years apart.

“After forming the government in the Bodoland Territorial Council, the BJP and the UPPL will contest the ensuing Assembly elections in the BTR,” Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who also holds the Health portfolio, said at a function held in Kokrajhar district, the headquarters of BTR.

‘Massive corruption’

BTR straddles 12 of Assam’s 126 Assembly constituencies. Dr. Sarma said massive corruption by the Hagrama Mohilary-led BPF, which ruled the council until its dissolution in April 2020, was the primary reason for the BJP opting for an electoral alliance with the UPPL.

The BPF has three Ministers in the BJP-led alliance government. A few key BPF leaders, including former Rajya Sabha member Biswajit Daimary and MLA Emmanuel Mushahary, joined the BJP a few weeks ago.

AJP president Lurinjyoti Gogoi on Sunday ruled out the possibility of his party forging a pre-poll alliance with the Congress but said a tie-up with the Raijor Dal was likely by the Magh Bihu festival that would be held in mid-January.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah at a rally in Guwahati last month indicated that the Congress was propping up the AJP in a bid to eat into the votes of the BJP in Assam.

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