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Lone Congress Winner in Bodoland Territorial Council Announces Joining BJP

File photo of BJP and Congress flags.

File photo of BJP and Congress flags.

The coalition strength will go up to 23 in the 40- member council with the crossing of the fence by the Congress member.

The newly elected sole Congress member of the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) announced on Monday that he would join the BJP and will be a part of the BJP-UPPL-GSP coalition in the new Council. Sajal Sinha, who was elected from Srirampur on the the Congress ticket, announced his decision to switch over to the saffron party in the presence of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convenor and Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at a press conference in Guwahati.

Sinha said that he has decided to join the BJP in the interest of the development of his constituency, which borders West Bengal. The coalition strength will go up to 23 in the 40- member council with the crossing of the fence by the Congress member.

UPPL has won 12 seats with its chief Promode Bodo winning from two seats and the total members of the new alliance is thus 21 and the seats won is 22. Sarma told reporters that Sinha is like his younger brother and had expresssed his wish to be part of the BJP after the results of the just concluded polls were announced on Saturday.

He claimed there are some others from the Bodoland Peoples' Front (BPF) who want to cross over to the ruling coalition but he refused to divulge the names, the exact number of elected members likely to change party affiliations or which party of the ruling coalition they would join. Sarma, in another press conference earlier Monday at the state secretariat, had announced that five newly elected members of the BJP-UPPL-GSP combine, led by United Peoples Party Liberal (UPPL) Chief Promode Bodo, will take oath of office for the new Bodoland Territorial Council on Tuesday at Kokrajhar.

Two members each of the BJP and UPPL and one of the Gana Suraksha Party (GSP) will be sworn in Tuesday. UPPL will hold both the Chief Executive Member (CEM) and the Deputy CEM's post, Sarma said.

UPPL Chief Promode Bodo will be the CEM while Gobindo Basumatary will be the Deputy CEM. Governor Jagadish Mukhi has accepted the claim of the three party coalition to form the Council after the newly elected members from the three parties had submitted their claim to Raj Bhavan on Sunday evening.

The Governor, who is currently outside the state, had accepted their claim last night and directed that the new Council be formed by December 15. The UPPL has won 12 seats, BJP nine and GSP one seat in the just concluded 40-member Council polls while the Bodoland Peoples' Front (BPF), which had headed the Council for the last three terms, emerged as the single largest party wit 17 seats.

The BJP on Sunday decided to dump its alliance partner BPF in the state government and join hands with the UPPL and the GSP to form the next Council in the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR), comprising the four districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri. The BTC elections has assumed particular significance in view of the state assembly elections likely to be held next year.

All the 14 assembly seats from the four districts are currently held by the BPF, which had joined hands with the BJP before the 2016 assembly polls to form the government and three of its MLAs-Pramila Rani Brahma, Chandan Brahma and Rihon Daimary are currently ministers in the Sonowal cabinet. The elections to the Council, earlier scheduled to be held on April 4 was deferred due to the pandemic, were held in two phases on December seven and 10.

The council polls were held after a fresh Bodo Accord was signed in New Delhi on January 27 by the leaders of all four factions of the NDFB, then All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) Chief Pramod Bodo, Mohilary and the Chief Minister.

first published:December 14, 2020, 20:35 IST