The Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) on Friday approached the Election Commission seeking permission to change the party’s candidate for Tamulpur constituency after its candidate Rangja Khungur Basumatary joined the BJP five days before voting.
BPF chief Hagrama Mohilary in a letter to the Election Commission on Thursday last urged the poll body to cancel election in the constituency.
Mr Basumatary, whom the BPF – an ally of the Congress-led alliance – gave a ticket to contest from Tamulpur in Baksa district of Bodoland Territorial Region in western Assam, had after campaigning for the party till Wednesday last went on “hiding” and then joined the BJP even as the second phase of the Assam election was being held.
Voting in Tamulpur constituency along with 43 others in western Assam will be held on April 6 in the third phase.
“Since the candidate nominated by my party has changed his political allegiance barely a few days before polling through illegal inducements including bribery, he is no longer entitled to receive the votes under the Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF) party symbol,” Mr Mohilary told the Election Commission in the letter on Friday.
Mr Basumatary had filed his papers to contest the election from BPF on March 18.
Mr Mohilary, in his letter, alleged the defection of Mr Basumatary after the last date of withdrawal of nomination as an “act of fraud” that violates the “core requirement of fairness in elections”.
“Therefore, in the interest of free and fair elections, purity of electoral process and democratic accountability, this Hon’ble commission is requested to consider permitting the BPF to immediately change its candidate from Tamulpur assembly constituency and to allot the party symbol to a new candidate, so as not to deny the voters of the constituency the right and freedom to vote,” Mr Mohilary said.
In his earlier letter on Thursday, he sought the cancellation of voting in Tamulpur and an FIR against the Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who were present during the joining of Mr Basumatary on Thursday along with BJP chief JP Nadda, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and BJP Assam chief Ranjeet Kumar Dass, for allegedly swaying Mr Basumatary to the BJP through “fraudulent manner”.
“After realising BJP’s poor performance in the first phase and its imminent defeat in the Assam elections, the party has decided to unleash state influence, muscle power and open the floodgates of illicit money. Through these fraudulent and malpractices, BJP has been trying to bribe, overpower our MLA candidates in order induce them to join the BJP or abstain from the election battleground,” Mr Mohilary alleged.
The BPF was once an ally of the BJP. It switched to the Congress after the BJP joined hands with the United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) to form Bodoland Territorial Council last December.