UPDS rules out poll politics

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  • Published 8.01.11

Guwahati, Jan. 7: The United People’s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS) has ruled out any possibility of the outfit entering electoral politics after signing the proposed peace accord.

Talking to The Telegraph, UPDS general secretary Saiding-Eh alias Horensing Bey dismissed speculation that the group was planning to float a political party after the outfit is disbanded in the wake of signing the accord.

“The main demand of the UPDS is creation of a separate state for the Karbis, which is yet to be achieved. For the time being, we have agreed to greater autonomy for Karbi Anglong for the sake of restoring peace in the trouble-torn district, showing respect to the wishes of the people,” he said.

“However, we will continue with our statehood demand in a peaceful and democratic manner and till we achieve our goal, there is no question of the UPDS entering electoral politics,” Saiding-Eh said.

However, he said they might support any candidate in the elections who is sympathetic to their cause so as to keep up the pressure on the government for early implementation of the accord.

The UPDS chairman also thanked the Peoples’ Alliance for Peace Agreement — a platform of 56 organisations, including political parties, students, women and cultural formations — for supporting its peace endeavour.

Saiding-Eh said they have made it clear to the government that whenever a State Reorganisation Commission or any other commission is constituted by the Centre to examine the statehood demands, their demand for statehood must be included in it.

The proposed peace accord will provide more autonomy to Karbi Anglong by replacing the present Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council with a new territorial entity, to be known as Karbi Anglong Autonomous Territory, under the amended provisions of the Sixth Schedule.

The UPDS general secretary said the accord was expected to be signed this month, paving the way for the outfit to lay down arms and return to the mainstream to usher in peace in the hill district.

“The settlement formula for the peace accord was freezed at a tripartite meeting between representatives of the UPDS, the Centre and the Assam government at New Delhi on December 23. The accord will be signed soon after the draft agreement is approved by the cabinet committee on security,” he said.

According to the agreement, the proposed Karbi Anglong Autonomous Territory will have executive and legislative powers and 64 subjects in the state list will be transferred to the territorial council. The autonomous territory shall have three revenue and administrative districts — East Karbi Anglong, Central Karbi Anglong and West Karbi Anglong with headquarters at Koilamati, Singhason and Hamren respectively. It will have 50 seats, five to be filled through nominations.

The UPDS was formed in 1999 in a merger of the erstwhile Karbi People’s Front and Karbi National Volunteers formed in 1994. The outfit entered into a ceasefire agreement in 2002 and holding negotiations with the government since then.