Mobile diaries: Will Assam 2016 mandate unite the divided Bodo community

(This video was shot on a mobile phone.)

Perennially plagued by a constant problem of illegal migration from neighbouring Bangladesh, rising demographic imbalance has invariably remained part of the electoral manifesto of major parties in Assam be it the parliamentary or Assembly elections. Now, a similar scenario is fast spilling over in the Bodo-dominated areas of north-western Assam but at an intra-state level.

As Assam readies for the second phase of polls on Monday, covering 61 constituencies, political parties in the state have been busy in last ditch efforts to woo the electorate in every way.

While the Congress has been highlighting the development it has ushered in during its 15-year rule in the insurgency-ravaged state, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is playing on the threat of Moulana Badaruddin Ajmal becoming the state's deputy chief minister in the event of a Congress-All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) government in the state.

While the Congress is going to polls in Assam with a regional party - United Peoples' Party (UPP), the BJP has forged an alliance with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bodoland Peoples' Front (BPF), the ruling party in the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC)-a sixth schedule autonomous council that runs administration in four districts of Bodoland in Assam.

The BJP is also highlighting the boost to connectivity in the region after the party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came to power in 2014.

Reports also suggested that rebel-turned-politician Hagrama Mohilary's Bodoland People Front (BPF) is a key player in 2016 Assembly elections and can play a decisive role in next government formation.

The non-Bodos together in 2014 put their weight behind rebel-turned-politician Hira Saraniya and BPF tested its first electoral defeat in its political history when Sarania won the Kokrajhar Lok Sabha seat.

As Firstpost's Simantik Dowerah argues in this piece, "saddled precariously on a cauldron of widening linguistic and cultural differences, both Bodos and non-Bodos would have to come forward to find a political solution soon lest these differences spill over from an electoral battlefield to an actual battlefield. As of now, time is fast running out and the blame game is simply on."

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: May 18, 2016 19:53 PM

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