Just a month ahead of the Assam Assembly polls, in a significant political development on Saturday, 27 February, ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) estranged ally Bodoland People's Front (BPF) has announced they have snapped ties with the party and joined Congress-led grand alliance to fight the Assembly polls.
BPF President Hagrama Mohilary in a tweet on Saturday night said: “To work for Peace, Unity and Development, the Bodoland People's Front (BPF) has decided to join hands with MAHAJATH (Mahagathbandhan) in the forthcoming Assam Assembly Election. We shall no longer maintain friendship or alliance with BJP. (sic)”
The ruling BJP in Assam has an alliance with the BPF and the party still has three ministers in the Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal-led government.
The BJP, after the Bodoland Territorial Council polls in early December last year, had forged an alliance with new ally United People's Party Liberal (UPPL) after discarding incumbent partner BPF.
Meanwhile, the Congress-led six-party "Mahagathbandhan" has been urging all the anti-BJP parties to join the coalition to "oust the BJP from the power in the ensuing elections".
The Congress had earlier formed the Mahagathbandhan with three Left parties—CPI-M, CPI and CPI-ML— as well as the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and the Anchalik Gana Morcha, two regional parties having a political base among the Muslims and indigenous people, respectively.
The Congress and the AIUDF had fought separately in 2016, and managed 26 and 13 seats, respectively.
The BJP has decided to fight the polls in western Assam's tribal dominated Bodoland area in alliance with new ally UPPL besides Asom Gana Parishad. In 2006 and 2011, the BPF was part of the Congress-led government in Assam, but before Lok Sabha polls in 2014, the party broke ties with Congress.
BPF leaders claim that its support ensured that the BJP won as many as 27 Assembly seats in 2016 polls. The BPF won all the 12 seats of Bodoland areas in 2016.
Another regional alliance comprising Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP), Raijor Dal and few other local parties formed a third front to take on both the BJP and Congress-led alliance. The elections to the 126-member Assam Assembly will be held in three phases on 27 March, 1 April and 6 April.