BTC to be upgraded, accord on Jan 26

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Sixteen years after the BTC accord was signed, the Bodo nationalism is on the threshold of achieving a higher level of autonomy as all four factions of NDFB  are coming together to sign a treaty with the Union Government making way for upgraded Bodoland territorial Council(BTC).

Through this proposed accord, which has the blessing of the All Bodo Students Union(ABSU) as well all the Bodo political groups, the existing BTC is expected to give more power placing it somewhere between a full-fledged state and the existing autonomous council.

However, it will not be a Union territory as demanded by the ABSU. Though MHA sources did not spell out what would be offered to the militant groups as a part of the political solution, they asserted that the reports of creation of a union territory were baseless. There is no question of affecting the territorial integrity of Assam, sources asserted.

The Centre is likely to sign a treaty before January 26,2020 with all four factions of the NDFB besides the ABSU.   The three factions of the NDFB led by Ranjan Daimary, Govinda Basumatary and Dhiren Boro are already talking with the Government of India and the NDFB(S) headed by its chairman B Saoraigwra crossed over to India from their bases in Myanmar on January 11, 2020, to join the peace process and signed a suspension of operations agreement with the State and Central governments.

Later, two other senior leaders of the outfit, G Bidai and Batha also expressed their desire to join the peace process and they were brought to Guwahati from Kokrajhar and flown to New Delhi on January 23.

Earlier in January 12, 2020, banned NDFB signed an agreement with the government for suspension of operations. According to the pact, the NDFB under the leadership of its ‘president’ B Saoraigwra will abjure violence and join in peace talks with the government.

Counter polarization

The consolidation of Bodo groups and political entities has an opposite effect inside the BTC. The non Bodos of the BTC areas have completely polarized behind Naba Sarania, the two time-independent MP from Kokrajhar Parliamentary constituency.

The counter polarization is strong as they are the majority inside the BTC and fiercely oppose the Bodo nationalism. The non Bodo groups of Assamese, Bengalis, Immigrant Muslims origins and Adivasis have come together and have threatened to give the Bodo political groups a  very tough challenge in the next BTC election. 

It will not be surprising that they actually capture the  40 member BTC in 2020 election, which has been run by Hagrama Mohillary of the Bodoland Peoples Front since 2004.

The current BTC  is run by BPF with a very slender margin. The following is the party position: Total 40 seats: BPF- 20, AIUDF 4, BJP- 1 , Ind – 15.

It will be a peculiar scenario if the proposed upgraded BTC  of 2020 fall into the hands of the non Bodos following the upcoming BTC election of 2020.

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