BJP's alliance with BPF in Assam under duress, hints Himanta



Hinting that all is not well in the ruling NDA in Assam, where assembly elections are due in 2021, senior BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday said the continuation of the saffron party's alliance with Bodoland People's Front (BPF) will depend on "the prevailing situation".

BJP and the BPF are separately contesting the polls to the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), which is likely to be held in December. Both parties have levelled allegations against each other during the campaigning.

Sarma said the relationship between the two parties had been smooth during the first BJP-led NDA government of Sarbananda Sonowal in Assam.

"The relationship with BPF at the state-level is still intact. We are looking forward to the same with the BPF for the next five years but it will depend on the prevailing situation," he said without elaborating.

Assam BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass said the party is "fully ready" for the BTC and Assembly polls.

The state cabinet had on October 7 decided to request the State Election Commission to hold the postponed BTC election in December 2020.

The election to the 40-member BTC was originally scheduled on April 4, but was postponed indefinitely due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Subsequently, Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi assumed charge of the Council on expiry of its five-year term on April 27, 2020.

The election to the 126-member Assam Assembly is likely in March-April of 2021. The 2016 elections gave a fractured mandate and, no party has an absolute majority in the current assembly.

The BJP is the single largest party with 60 MLAs, while its allies Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and BPF have 14 and 12 lawmakers respectively. The ruling coalition also has the support of an Independent MLA.