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BPF Boycotts Pramod Boro’s 1st BTC Budget Session Protesting ‘Invalid’ Floor Test

KOKRAJHAR: The opposition Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF) on Friday abstained from the budget session of the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC).
Chief Executive Member Pramod Boro tabled a Rs 1746.46 crore budget for 2020-21. The session is the first of the Pramod Boro-led United People Party Liberal-BJP-Ganasakti Party dispensation in the BTC that resolved to increase the number of executive members from 14 to 17.

All the 16 members of the BPF boycotted the budget session. The BPF which emerged as the single largest party with 17 seats in the 40-member council was reduced to 16 after an elected member from Jamduar constituency Reoreoa Narzihary joined the BJP. The BJP which won nine seats increased to 11 after it roped in the lone Congress winner from Srirampur as well. The UPPL won 12 seats while the GSP won one.

Reacting to the opposition boycott, Boro said it was an “unfortunate and irresponsible act”. “They are elected members and they should serve the people. It shows they are in politics only for power and not to serve the people. It’s unfortunate. I appeal to them to come forward and take part in public work,” Boro said.

He accused the BPF members of enjoying a picnic allegedly organised by state cabinet minister Chandan Brahma on Friday.

In a statement, senior BPF leader Doneswar Goyary branded the Boro-led coalition as illegal and invalid and cited it as the reason for staying away from the budget session. He said the BPF disapproved of the floor test on December 24 “as it was not held in a proper democratic manner” and that his party has challenged the floor test in the Court. The floor test was held the Gauhati High Court had ordered for a confidence motion. The Boro-led dispensation won the test with support of 22 members against the BPF’s 16.

Talking to newspersons after tabling the budget, Boro said the budget was for a short period and that his council would try to ensure that it is followed seamlessly in next budget for 2021-2022.
In his budget speech, Boro said the Centre and the state government have been implementing the BTR Accord with some of the clauses, such as setting up four special courts to resolve the pending case against the former NDFB cadres, already being implemented.

Boro’s deputy Gobindo Chandra Basumatary told the House that initiatives have been taken for rehabilitation and compensation national Democrativ Front of Boroland (NDFB) as per the BTR Accord signed on January 27 last year by the Centre, state government, All Bodo Students’ Union, all four factions of the NDFB and United Bodo People’s Organisation. He said the matter has been discussed with Assam Police additional director general (Special Branch) Hiren Nath on the rehabilitation of the NDFB cadres.

He said Rs 4 lakh from the Centre and Rs 2 lakh from the state would be provided as compensation to each NDFB cadre. Moreover matters relating to withdrawal of pending cases have also been taken up with the state and Union home ministry as per the spirit of the BTR Accord and a special legal cell would be constituted to look into the matter.
Basumatary further said the BTC will pursue with the Union home ministry to resolve the issue for the early release of 25 NDFB cadres jailed in Bhutan.

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