The ruling coalition partners in Assam –Congress and the Bodoland People's Front (BPF) have failed to reach seat-sharing arrangement for the April 9 elections to the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC). The BPF leaders gave up the idea in the face of passionate protest by the BPF workers of eight constituencies which the Bodo political party ruling the tribal council, had reportedly agreed leave to its coalition partner.

In the wake of protest by his party workers, which saw workers vandalising party offices, taking out processions, shouting and burning effigies senior leaders of the Bodo political party and threatening to join the rival political parties, BTC chief and BPF president Hagrama Mahilary hurriedly convened a press meet on Thursday night to announce that the party would contest all the 40 seats of the tribal council.

Mr. Mahilary, however, announced that there would be friendly contest with the Congress in some seats. He also said that such contest would have no impact on the present coalition between the two parties in the State. The BPF is a coalition partner of the ruling Congress with 11 legislators, three of whom are ministers in the Tarun Gogoi-led Cabinet.

Following the development, the Congress is now planning to field its own candidates in at least 24- 25 seats of the total 40 seats, party sources said.

Mr. Mahilary's announcement came as a shock to the Congress leaders in Dispur as the two parties had reportedly agreed to seat-sharing formula under which the BPF would contest 32 seats leaving eight seats for the Congress. The source said senior Congress leaders took strong exception to arbitrary announcement by Mr. Mahilary. However, the Congress is yet to make official announcement in this regard.

The last date for filing of nominations is March 23 while the last date for withdrawal is March 26. Counting of votes will be taken up on April 13.