The Bodoland People’s Front, an ally of the Congress in Assam, has flown party members who contested the state Assembly polls to an undisclosed location amid fears that the Bharatiya Janata Party would try to buy their loyalties, the Hindustan Times reported on Sunday.
“I am not sure where they [the candidates] are now,” said senior Bodoland People’s Front leader Pramila Rani Brahma, who contested from the Kokrajhar East seat. “But the candidates are outside Assam, that’s confirmed. I am not going anywhere.”
An unidentified leader said that 10 Bodoland People’s Front leaders were taken to Bhutan on April 10 and would likely stay there till May 2.
Last week, another Congress ally, the All India United Democratic Front, had moved 18 of its 20 candidates to a hotel in Rajasthan’s Jaipur.
The Congress dismissed suggestions that it had any plans to move its candidates out of the state and said that its alliance partners were trying to safeguard their candidates from the “dirty tricks” of the BJP. “We have already witnessed in Goa, Manipur and other places, how BJP can manipulate voters’ verdict to gain power,” said senior Congress leader Pradyut Bordoloi.
The BJP, however, has dismissed the allegations and claimed that it will retain power in the state. “The fear among Congress’s partners shows their own lack of confidence in their candidates,” said BJP spokesperson Subhash Dutta. “They are resorting to such antics as they know they would lose.”
The three-phase polls in Assam concluded on April 6 and the results will be declared on May 2.
Congress and its prime ally, the All India United Democratic Front, contested the Assembly elections in Assam together. The “mohajut” – as the alliance is called – also includes Jimochayan (Deori) People’s Party, Adivasi National Party, Anchalik Gana Morcha, Bodoland People’s Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal and three Left parties.
The Bodoland People’s Front was an ally of the BJP till recently, before the Hagrama Mohilary-led outfit decided to join the Congress’ alliance a month ahead of the Assam polls. Earlier this month, Rangja Khungur Basumatary, the Bodoland People’s Front’s candidate from Tamulpur, shifted loyalties and joined the BJP.