The working president of Bodoland Janajati Suraksha Mancha (BJSM), DD Narzary, has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention in holding the BTC election before the expiry of Governor’s rule on October 27.

Narzary, a former executive member (EM) of Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) said the council election is being delayed in the name of the COVID19 pandemic, whereas the panchayat election or Assembly elections in other states of the country are being held.

In a memorandum to PM Modi, the working president of the BJSM and former ABSU leader, DD Narzary said the Assam government earlier announced to hold the BTC election on April 4, and accordingly, candidates from different political parties filed their nomination papers.

“But the Assam government, surprisingly, imposed Governor’s rule in BTC area without valid reasons and holding of BTC election was deferred,” Narzary said.

Narzary said the Governor’s rule would expire in the last week of October and state health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had said holding of BTC election during the COVID19 pandemic would greatly affect the state.

With this view, Sarma requested the Assam State Election Commission in writing not to hold the BTC election until the situation which would lead to the extension of Governor’s rule for another six months.

Narzary said this is “not feasible for the people”.

He asserted that during the Governor’s rule, people of BTC area had not seen development activities and if the Governor’s rule is further extended, the developmental works of the BTC area might get hampered.

“When ‘unlock’ has already started since July, schools and colleges have opened now, markets are open and movement of people is not restricted, fear of transmission of COVID-19 from BTC districts to neighbouring districts is quite meaningless,” he said.

He added that it was “nothing but a ploy to delay the election in BTC”.

Narzary said the Assam Governor had issued a notification in connection with the change of name from BTAD to BTR, vide notification no TAD/BC/227/2020/5 1-A on September 28, 2020.

“This was clearly a case of the violation of the constitutional provisions because BTAD was created under the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India vide, the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution (Amendment) Act, 2003 (44 of 2003), S.2,” he said.

He also said the Governor of Assam had issued a notification no. HMA-19/14/2020-Political (A/PL.1V/25, on September 28, 2020 in connection with the formation of Commission to re-demarcate the boundary of the so-called BTR when the Model Code of Conduct was already in force, issued in connection with the general elections to BTC.

Therefore, the issuance of such notifications was an infringement of the Model Code of Conduct, he said.

In the memorandum, Narzary said it was the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee along with the then Home minister LK Advani, who created Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) comprising 3,082 villages and it was also agreed that additional 95 villages would be included to BTC by consensus.

“If villages of BTC are excluded as per the 3rd Bodo Accord signed on January 27, 2020 it would surely tantamount to dishonouring the great image of the late former Prime Minister of India as well as the then Home Minister LK Advani, besides hurting the sentiment of the Bodo people,” he said.

Narzary added that the Bodo people did not want any single village to be excluded from the existing BTC.

He urged PM Modi for his intervention in the matter of holding BTC election before the expiry of Governor’s Rule and establish the democratic rights of the people of BTC area.

Meanwhile, the Assam Cabinet in a recent meeting, chaired by Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, decided to hold the BTC election in December this year.

Shajid Khan

Shajid Khan is Northeast Now Correspondent in Udalguri. He can be reached at: itsshajidkhan@gmail.com