With Assembly elections barely six months away, Assam is witnessing new political permutation and combinations. Even as former Congress strongman Himanta Biswa Sarma donned the saffron robe officially in August-end, tribal politics too witnessed new developments.
In a major development that is likely to have a political impact, nine tribal and indigenous organisations have decided to form a political party and contest as many as 30 seats for the 2016 Assembly polls.
The new front has been christened as the United People’s Front (UPF). Tribal bodies took this decision during a political convention held in Guwahati recently. The convention was presided over by Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) chief Hagrama Mohilary. With 12 MLAs in the State Assembly, the BPF is also ruling the Bodoland Territorial Council.
Political analysts view this development as significant. The tribal block’s support is going to be crucial in the formation of the next government for no party is likely to get a majority on its own in 2016 polls.
The tribal organisations and political parties that came together under the banner of UPF include the Hills State Demand Council, BPF, Sanmilita Ganashakti Assam, Rabha Hasong Jauth Sangram Samity, Jimosaya People’s Party, Sonowal Kachari Jatiya Parishad, United People’s Front, Tiwa, All Assam Tribal Sangha and United Bodo Peoples Organisation.
‘Coming together was crucial or we would be marginalised in the politics of numbers. Assam still needs a strong regional alternative,’ Mohilary said. He also claimed that in 2016 no political party can form the government in Assam without the support of the UPF.
The new development is likely cause headaches to mainstream parties like the Congress, BJP and AGP, all of whom are trying to woo tribal votes ahead of the Assembly polls.