Once known as a kingmaker in Assam politics, Hagrama Mohilary, the chief of the Bodoland People's Front (BPF), today formally returned to the Congress fold, joining the Mahajath or grand alliance led by the state's main opposition party. It is, technically, still in alliance with the BJP till the end of this Assembly's term, one that it had yesterday declared as dissolved.
"How can they (BJP) win when I am not on their side? We will have to see the exit of the BJP in Assam," said Mr Mohilary, addressing a joint press conference with Congress and other Mahajath participants units in Guwahati today.
Over the past three state polls, since the BPF's inception in 2005, the alliance it has sided with has gone on to win the polls. It switched allegiance to the BJP only for the 2016 Assembly election, till then siding with the Congress.
The Congress approached it this time for a pre-poll 'Mahagathbandhan', that also, interestingly, includes once-rival All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF). Apart from the Badruddin Ajmal-led AIUDF, this combine includes regional party Anchalik Gana Morcha and the three Left parties, the CPI, CPI(M), and the CPI(ML). The Tejashwi Yadav-led RJD is also keen on joining the alliance.
"Assam's destiny is about to change for the better. Many tributaries join together to make a strong river," Assam Congress chief Ripun Bora said today welcoming Mr Mohilary.
The first fissure in the BJP-BPF alliance emerged in January 2020 when the Centre and the Assam government signed an Accord with the surrendered National Democratic Front of Bodoland. The Accord had provisions for delimitation of the Bodoland Territorial Region boundaries, and the discussions that led to this had bypassed the BPF that was still at the helm of the Bodoland Territorial Council.
The ties soured when the BJP fielded its own candidates against the BPF in the BTR Council elections last December. The BJP then formed a Bodoland Council with the United People's Party Liberal (UPPL) and the Gana Suraksha Party. The BPF, despite emerging as the single-largest party, was left behind by four seats.
"Himanta kidnaps leaders to form governments, you saw what happened in Bodoland polls," Mr Mohillary had said in the run up to polls. He was referring to the BJP key pointsperson for Assam and the northeast, Himanta Biswas.
The BPF has 12 legislators in the Assam Assembly, of which 3 held cabinet positions. The party's Rajya Sabha MP, Biswajit Daimary, later resigned his post and joined the BJP. He was re-elected unopposed last week.
Mr Mohilary to also called upon other regional parties such as Raijor Dal and the Asom Jatiya Parishad, which had spearheaded the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act, to join the Mahajath.
"This time, I am on the side of Assam's people and will oppose CAA along with the Mahajath," he said.
Assam will see three-phased assembly polls from March 27 to April 6, with results to be declared on May 2.