I don’t want to be the king, says Hagrama Mohilary

Hagrama Mohilary the name itself once used to send shiver down the spine of the Bodo heartland. He was once not only the chief of the Bodo Liberation Tiger (BLT), one of the most dreaded outfits in Assam, but led the outfit from the front and never took shelter in any foreign country. All that Mohilary wanted was a sovereign Bodoland and led an armed movement to realize his dream. But the BLT bloodshed stopped in 2003 after he, along with his men, surrendered and disbanded the outfit.
Today, he is the "most trusted friend" of the Congress on whom the national party banks on to return to power for the third consecutive time in Dispur. And as the state gets ready for the second and final phase of the 2011 polls on Monday, Hagrama tells TOI's Prabin Kalita that one day he wants to see his party, the Bodoland People's Front, becoming a major political force to reckon with in Assam.

TOI: What inspired you to field BPF candidates outside the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) area.? Are you being more ambitious considering the fact that the BPF is in the term for a single term only?

Mohilary : I have only acted according to the people's wish. They need a party that will work for them. In the last five years, all three of our ministers worked very hard. I have also given funds from BTC to several areas outside the council area.
For instance, I have given Rs 50 lakh to Silchar University, a scheme in Golaghat. I do not have any objection to make BPF a state-level party. This time, we are testing the waters outside the BTC area and we have fielded candidates in the (BTC) fringe areas only, and not beyond.
TOI: Many consider BPF as a party for the tribals. Why do you chose to ignore the minorities, who comprise 30 per cent of the state's voters?

Mohilary: My party is not into tribal politics. We are also not a party such as the BJP or the AIUDF that plays politics based on religious sentiments.

TOI: You emerged the kingmaker in 2006 as you helped Congress to form the government with BPF as the alliance partner. This time too you are being projected as the kingmaker. Have you ever thought to be the king yourself?

Mohilary: I do not want to be the king. Our primary objective is to help form the government and ensure development in the BTC area. The last five years was our first term and we have a lot left to do. I concentrate only on development in the BTC region. Our ministers are there to work for the rest of the state.

TOI: How long will it take to develop the BTC areas which have long remained neglected as it continued to be ravaged by militancy and mass movements?

Mohilary : We will need at least 15 years to bring meaningful development in the BTC areas.

TOI: And what will be your focus areas?

Mohilary : Small industry, agriculture and power. We are starting three small power projects in Borolia, Puthimari and Pahumara. We have asked the government to hand over the Dhanbsiri irrigation project to us so that it can also generate power for us. The project is lying idle. If we get it, we will build the project and run it.