Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Feb 28: The Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) today formally joined the opposition ‘grand alliance’. This was announced during a press conference here addressed by leaders of all constituents of the grand alliance.

“Today we have formally joined the grand alliance. BJP’s rule has not been up to the expectations of the people of Assam. The BJP has not been able to ensure constitutional rights of all the communities of the State. By being a member of the grand alliance, the BPF can work for peace, progress and unity of Assam. BPF will now jointly contest the forthcoming Assembly polls with the other constituents of the grand alliance,” BPF supremo Hagrama Mohilary said.

He exuded confidence about the grand alliance forming the next government in Assam. “The grand alliance will win an absolute majority and we will form the next government. We need 64 seats to form the government. We will secure 70 seats,” he said.

Regarding the grand alliance’s aim of capturing 101 seats, Mohilary said in a lighter note, “BJP speaks that kind of language. Just because BJP talks like that it does not mean that we should also do the same.”

He said “BJP will be finished this time. How can the BJP do well when I am not with them? It was I who had kept the BJP alive in Assam. You all know the history.”

The BPF was part of the BJP-led ruling alliance in the State since 2016. However, the BJP went with the UPPL and wrested the BTC in the recent council elections in a close fight.

Asked if the three BPF ministers in the Sarbananda Sonowal-led ministry will now resign, Mohilary did not give a direct reply and instead said, “Are they ministers now? Now that we have joined the grand alliance where is the question of them remaining ministers? Now that the elections have been declared are there really any ministers?”

Speaking on the occasion, State Congress president Ripun Bora said that BPF’s induction into the grand alliance will further strengthen the front.

The BPF was earlier in alliance with the Congress from 2006 to 2016.

“From today there are seven parties in the grand alliance... I am sure the people of Assam will wholeheartedly support the grand alliance in the elections,” Bora said.

He also called upon the Raijor Dal and the Assam Jatiya Parishad to join the grand alliance.

Bora accused the ruling BJP of violating the model code of conduct and called upon the Election Commission to ensure level playing fields for all parties and candidates.

AIUDF general secretary Aminul Islam, CPI(M) State secretary Deben Bhattacharya, CPI State secretary Munin Mahanta, CPI(ML) Liberation senior leader Pankaj Das, and Anchalik Gana Marcha president Ajit Kumar Bhuyan also addressed the press conference.