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Bodo versus Bodo fight in Kokrajhar turns ugly

U.G. Brahma addresses an election rally, his supporters take out a bike rally at Mushalpur and BPF president Hagrama Mohilary campaigns for Chandan Brahma at Sukhanjhora in Kokrajhar on Friday. Pictures by UB Photos

The battle for the Kokrajhar seat is apparently turning out uglier than expected.

With less than a week to go before the polls, the differences between the All Bodo Students Union (Absu) and its supporting groups and the Hagrama Mohilary-led Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) are ending in more than just a war of words.

The BPF is accused of using force and intimidation.

The Centre has decided to send additional five companies of paramilitary forces for the polls in Kokrajhar Lok Sabha constituency in view of the situation in lower Assam, sources today said.

The move comes after Absu president Pramod Boro and United Democratic People’s Front (UDPF) working president Bhramon Baglari told the Election Commission that the BPF was no different from its previous militant avatar, the Bodo Liberation Tigers.

Absu, UDPF and other supporting groups of Independent candidate Urkhao Gwra Brahma, a former Rajya Sabha MP, called on the Election Commission yesterday and warned of an impending law and order situation allegedly perpetrated by the BPF.

“Since its inception, the BPF has been indulging in all sorts of subversive and violent activities by way of intimidation, arson and killing. They have terrorised people in every election — BTC in 2005, Assembly in 2006, Lok Sabha in 2009, and again Assembly in 2011,” Boro and Baglari told chief election commissioner V.S. Sampath and election commissioner H.S. Brahma.

Boro told the commission that Mohilary, then chairman of the now disbanded BLT, “a militant-turned-politician”, who had signed the Bodo Accord with the government on February 10, 2003, surrendered and then formed a political party, the BPF, was rampantly using firearms and intimidation.

The two-member delegation asked the commission to act against Mohilary, seize illegal arms and punish erring police officials. They said if steps were not taken, the law and order situation would worsen.

“People are very angry,” Boro told The Telegraph after the meeting.

Absu, which is spearheading the Bodoland movement, has not been on the same side as the BPF, which, the students allege, is part of the government and cannot speak for Bodoland.

The BPF candidate for Kokrajhar, Chandan Brahma, a minister in chief minister Tarun Gogoi’s cabinet, is considered a strong candidate with support base outside the community.

Boro accused him of taking advantage of his position and violating the model code of conduct.

There are two other candidates from the community who could split the Bodo vote. Former Lok Sabha MP S.K. Bwiswmuthiary, who did not get the BPF ticket, is contesting as an Independent and so is former Meghalaya governor and IPS officer, R.S. Mooshahary.

The non-Bodo voters, who as a single chunk is larger than the Bodos, is looking at former Ulfa leader at Hira Sarania, who has taken the plunge into electoral politics this year.

So what if a non-Bodo wins? Will it undermine the demand for Bodoland?

“I don’t think so,” said Boro. “The MP from ‘Gorkhaland’ is also not a Gorkha,” he added.

The Absu leader also dismissed speculation that militancy could raise its head again if the Centre refuses Bodoland in the scenario of a non-Bodo winning the parliamentary seat.

Boro said Absu was dead against violence of any kind but warned that the demand for Bodoland would continue, as people were annoyed with the Centre’s dithering.