"Won't Intervene": Poll Body On Complaint By Congress' Assam Ally

Assam Election: Hagrama Mohilary's BPF, broke from the BJP and joined the Congress in February (File)

New Delhi:

The Election Commission has refused to intervene in the matter of Rangja Khungur Basumatary - the BPF candidate from Assam's Tamulpur who was allegedly lured to the BJP this week, just days before polling in his constituency and after the deadline for withdrawal of nominations.

The poll body had been entreated - twice - by BPF chief Hagrama Mohilary to either order voting to be suspended or allow the party to change its candidate for the seat. Earlier today a frustrated Mr Mohilary also approached the Supreme Court seeking postponement of polling in Tamulpur.

In a lengthy statement released Sunday evening, the Election Commission said at this stage polling could only be adjourned (or candidates changed) "only in event of death of a candidate".

"The complaint (filed by the BPF) has been examined... the Commission is of the considered view that under the extant statutory provisions the matter does not warrant any intervention at this juncture," the poll body said, adding that symbol allocations had already been completed.

The Election Commission said it had received assurances from Mr Basumatary, who said he joined the BJP on April 1, that he done so "willingly (and) without pressure from any quarter".

He also said he would not contest but would work on behalf of the UPPL (United People's Party Liberal) candidate from Tamulpur; the UPPL is a BJP ally and has been allotted this seat.

The BPF and its ally, the Congress, have slammed the BJP on this issue; the ruling party has been accused of "horse-trading" and violating the "core requirement of fairness in elections".

On Thursday Mr Mohilary demanded an FIR be filed against Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who were present as Mr Basumatary joined the BJP.

BJP chief JP Nadda, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Assam BJP chief Ranjeet Kumar Dass were also named - for allegedly luring Mr Basumatary in a "fraudulent manner".

Tamulpur, which is in Baksa district under the Bodoland Territorial Region, votes on Tuesday - the third and final phase of the Assam Assembly election.

The Bodoland People's Front was once an ally of the BJP.

Mr Mohilary's party switched to the Congress in February - after the BJP dumped it to ally with the United People's Party Liberal (UPPL) to form the Bodoland Territorial Council last December.

The results of the Assam Assembly election are expected on May 2.

With input from PTI