Bodo parties face tough time as AIUDF upsurge

Kokrajhar (Assam): This assembly election is not going to be a smooth sailing for the BJP’s ally Bodoland People’s Front (BOPF), the ruling party in Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), because of upsurge of All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and presence of another strong new Bodo political group, United People’s Party (UPP) in the fray in Bodoland areas.
The Bodo-tribe dominated BTC area which has been ridden with bouts of violent ethnic conflicts between Bodos and Adivasis, Bodos and Muslims since 1996, is considered a bastion of Bodo political party BOPF that won 11 seat in 2011 Assembly polls.
The AIUDF which is considered a political party of religious minorities (Muslims), has fielded candidates from the Bodo tribe in three adjacent Assembly constituencies of Kokrajhar East, Kokrajhar West and Sidli. This will ensure three-way division of Bodo votes much to the advantage of the AIUDF candidates who are bound to get sizeable Muslim votes also.
“It is a development that is poised to change the political dynamics in the Bodos’ homeland. The AIUDF president Badaruddin Ajmal, MP, has chosen candidates from Bodo community to project an alternative political platform for non-Bodo communities in the BTC areas,” said Manu Bargayari (a Bodo tribe businessman), the AIUDF candidate for Kokrajhar East LAC.Borgayari hopes that the people will vote for a change this time to get a respite from prolonged misrule of BOPF, an ally of the BJP and the AGP. He banks on over 24,000 Muslim voters in Kokrajhar East LAC where Bodo voters are clear majority with over 61,000.
There is possibility of Bodo votes being getting divided between BoPF candidate and sitting MLA, Pramilla Rani Brahma and newly-formed UPP’s candidate Pratibha Brahma. The UPPA is backed by the Congress that has feeble presence in the BTC areas.
Two of the most influential Bodo political leaders Urkhao Gwra Brahma, a former Rajya Sabha MP and Rabiram Narzary, a former close associate of Brahma, are fighting each other in Kokrajhar West constituency as candidates of the UPP and BOPF.
The AIUDF has fielded one Dahit Chandra Brahma , a Bodo businessman and a former BOPF leader. Urkhao Gwra Brahma admitted that there would three-way division of about 54,000 Muslim votes in the LAC and pinned his hopes on other non-Bodo and non-Muslim voters. In the Sidli LAC, the sitting BOPF MLA, Chandan Brahma is facing a stiff challenge from UPP candidate Rwngwra Narzary and AIUDF candidate Pankaj Islary.
In Gossaingaon LAC in the BTC in the western most Assam, sitting BOPF MLA Majendra Narzary is facing challenge from UPP candidate Somnath Narzary and Congress candidate Ashim Hasda who is from Adivasi community that has over 30,000 votes in the LAC. As about 48,000 Bodo votes in the constituency set to get divided between BoPF and UPP candidates , Hasda likely to attract about 40,000 non-Bodo votes besides the Adivasi votes.
During 2014 Lok Sabha election, the BOPF was defeated in the only Lok Sabha constituency in Bodoland for the first time after AIUDF backed the non-Bodo candidate Nava Sarania who won by a huge margin of over 3.5 lakh votes. The AIUDF is sure emerging a big challenge for Bodo political groups in Bodo areas.

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