'Bodos' well for the BJP

His name used to send chills down the spine of the Bodo heartland. Hagrama Mohilary, who once gave nightmares to the police and government with serial bomb blasts, is now the BJP's ally in Assam. It was just 13 years ago that the former chief of Bodo Liberation Tigers and his associates surrendered, signing a Memorandum of Settlement with the government of India.

Today, Mohilary's Bodoland People's Front (BPF) is ruling the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC)—the autonomous council under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution that runs administration in the four districts, Kokrajhar, Baksa, Udalguri and Chirang, of Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD). The BPF has been winning the majority of the 12 assembly segments under the BTAD since the party first contested in 2006.

According to Mohilary, a former ally of the Congress, the BJP-BPF-Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) alliance will get 30 to 40 seats in the second phase of the poll, held on April 11. “BPF alone will win 13 seats,” he told THE WEEK. “I had an elaborate discussion with Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding the sixth scheduled area of BTC. Modi has assured his support.”

The BPF had earlier asked the Union government for a Rs 1,000 crore package as a condition for supporting the BJP. Though BJP president Amit Shah said that Modi would give more than what Mohilary asked for, nothing has actually been given to the BTAD so far.

Experts said the BPF’s tie-up with the BJP will create a sharp polarisation among the people in BTAD, which has seen several ethnic riots. “The people of BTAD are still coping with the trauma of the past violence. We cannot afford any more violence,” said a school teacher.

If the BJP comes to power, Mohilary will play a key role not only in the Bodo heartland but in entire Assam.

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