BJP ally BPF to contest only Kokrajhar in Assam

Barama (Assam), Mar 12 (PTI) The Bodoland Peoples’ Front, an ally of the ruling BJP in Assam, Tuesday announced that it will contest only from the linguistically sensitive Kokrajhar seat.
Party MLA and state minister Pramila Rani Brahma will contest from the constituency, BPF chief Hagrama Mohilary told reporters here in Baksa district.
The BPF has decided not to contest any other Lok Sabha seat and will extend its support to the BJP in all other constituencies in Assam, he added.
“We have fixed our Lok Sabha candidate for the Kokrajhar constituency. It is Pramila Rani Brahma. We are sure she will win,” Mohilary said.
Brahma, 68, is the state’s social welfare and soil conservation minister, has won the Kokrajhar East (ST) Assembly seat six times in a row since 1991.
She won as an Independent four times and on the BPF’s ticket in the 2011 and 2016 polls.
In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Chandan Brahma of the BPF came third in Kokrajhar, a Scheduled Tribe seat.
Independent Naba Kumar Sarania, a former ULFA militant, recorded a massive victory bagging 6.34 lakh votes compared to 2.79 lakh votes by Independent Urkhao Gwra Brahma, who came second. The BPF candidate got 2.44 lakh votes.
Kokrajhar will go to polls in the third and last phase on April 23.
It includes 10 Assembly constituencies, of which seven fall under the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) – Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri.
Several clashes have been witnessed between the Bodo and non-Bodo communities in those districts since 2003 when the BTAD was set up.
According to 2011 census, 30.5 per cent people in BTAD speak Bodo, while Assamese and Bangla are spoken by 26.8 per cent and 23.7 per cent respectively.
Santali, Hindi, Nepali, Kurux, Rabha and other languages constitute the rest.
Mohilary, who is also the Chief of the Bodoland Territorial Council, was also asked why the BPF was not contesting Mangaldoi Lok Sabha constituency that has a sizable population of Bodo people.
“We wanted this seat, but it is not possible in the present circumstances. We have some local issues. So, we have left this seat to the BJP,” Mohilary said.
He, however, did not elaborate what he meant by “the present circumstances”.
Mangaldoi is outside the jurisdiction of the BTAD.