Guwahati: The Gauhati high court on Monday dismissed a petition challenging Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi’s decision to place the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) under his rule.
Mukhi had placed the BTC, which covers four districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri, under governor’s rule on Monday after the state election commission expressed inability to hold polls there due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic situation.
The BTC’s tenure expired on April 27. The BTAD falls under the Sixth Schedule of Constitution and the Governor is the constitutional head.
On Monday, dismissing the plea filed by Bodoland Peoples’ Front (BPF) executive member Jagadish Sarkar and Nerswn Boro, the high court has allowed the Governor’s rule to continue in BTC area.
Former BTC chief and BPF president, Hagrama Mohilary, had opposed the decision to impose Governor’s rule in the BTC and tweeted: “Due to the Covid-19, the elections of the BTC have been postponed. In this time of emergency, people here need our government more.”
“But instead of extending the term, the Honourable Governor has given the charge of the BTAD to the Principal Secretary of Assam. We strongly oppose this decision and filed a petition in Gauhati High Court against this order,” he had added.
In BTC, the BPF was in power since 2003. Former rebel turned politician Mohilary was the chief of the BTC for the past 17 years. The party is also an ally of the BJP-led ruling coalition in Assam of which Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) is also a part.
Immediately after the court’s order, BPF’s arch-rival party United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL)’s spokesperson Prithviraj Narayan Dev Mech reacted, “It’s the beginning of the end of BPF rule in the region. People have cursed them for their misdeeds and soon they will be thrown out of power too.”
The BTC elections were due on April 4, but the state election commission deferred it indefinitely on March 20 because of the Covid-19 crisis.
BPF’s ally in the State government, BJP, too has decided to contest the BTC poll in full throttle. However, the decision by the saffron camp to contest with its ally has left the BPF leadership upset.
Many leaders had also hinted on revisiting its decision of alliance with BJP.
However, even if the BPF pulls out of the alliance, it won’t threaten the government. The BPF has 12 MLAs in the House of 126 while the BJP-AGP coalition has 74 which is well over the half-way mark of 64.
The poll to the Assam assembly is due in April next year.