GUWAHATI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has taken lead in 8 seats as counting of votes continues for the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) polls. Of the 40 council seats that went for polls, the BJP nominated candidates for 26 seats and is supporting independent candidates in 14 seats. In the last BTC election in 2015, the BJP managed to win just one seat.
Though the initial trends and leads point towards a massive surge of UPPL, the picture would be clear only in the evening. Right now, for all the parties, the leads are very less in many seats and it is not clear who would be the final winner. The UPPL was leading in 23 seats when reports last came in. Led by former All Bodo Students’ Union president Pramod Boro, UPPL is mainly based in BTC areas and is seen by the Bodo community as an option over BPF to rule the council.
This year, the BTC election campaign for BJP Assam was led mainly by Assam President Ranjeet Kumar Dass, senior BJP leader and Assam minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma, National General Secretary Dilip Saikia, MLAs, MPs and other senior party functionaries.
The BJP is trying to make inroads into BTC areas and has snapped all its ties with the BPF (its coalition partner in Dispur) for the BTC elections. A war of words was seen between BPF chief Hagrama and Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma during the election campaign. The BJP campaign mostly targeted Hagrama for the wide-spread corruption in the council.
The BTC was formed in 2003 and has 40 council seats that go for voting every five years. BPF has been winning for the past 15 years and this time it is witnessing a stiff fight from local party UPPL and its state alliance partner BJP.