Bodoland demand grows ahead of Lok Sabha polls

Bodoland demand grows ahead of Lok Sabha polls

Agitators seeking a separate Bodoland state in Kokrajhar, Assam on Saturday. Photo by ABSU

Groups demanding a separate Bodoland state stepped up their agitation on Saturday with a warning to campaign against BJP in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls as the party failed to fulfil its 2014 pre-poll promise.

The agitators, who hit the streets in eastern Assam’s Kokrajhar districts slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his alleged failure to keep the promise he had made during an election rally before 2014 Lok Sabha polls to address the decades-long demand.

“We have tried to remind the BJP leadership about their verbal and written promise (election manifesto 2014) they made to address the Bodoland problem after coming to power. We are surprised to see that BJP have totally forgotten the promise since the formation of the government. The Bodo people are very angry with BJP and will give a fitting reply in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections,” president of All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU), Promod Boro told DH on Saturday.

The groups have been demanding a separate Bodoland state by bifurcating the Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD) in eastern Assam and portions of central and Upper Assam districts “to protect the culture, tradition and indigenous identity of the Bodo people”.

Assam has more than 25 lakh Bodo people. According to the ABSU president, Bodo voters play significant role in four of 14 Lok Sabha constituencies—Kokrajhar, Mangoldoi, Tezpur and Lakhimpur.

“Four new states have been created since 1993 but more than 50-years-long demand for Bodoland has remained neglected. Only a separate Bodoland state will usher peace and development in the area. BJP has remained in favour of the creation of new states.

The Bodoland Territorial Council was constituted in 2003, when Atal Behari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister and he promised to consider the demand for separate state later.

We have held several rounds of discussion with the Centre but no concrete decision has come out of such discussion. So now we have no option but to build strong political pressure before the Lok Sabha elections,” Boro said.

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