When the world is busy applauding the success of Modi, in the remote corner of North East India something phenomenal has happened. Naba Saraniya alias Heera Saraniya, once a dreaded battalion Commander of the dreaded United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) has swept Kokrajhar constituency with a record margin.
Saraniya got total vote as 634428 beating his competitor Urkhao Gwra Brahma (278649 votes) and Assam State Transport Minister Chandan Brahma(243759 votes) – a record margin win in Lok Sabha Election in India ever by an independent candidate. The result can be viewed online here on official page of Election Commission of India.
Saraniya is popularly known as Heera Saraniya alias Hira Sarania alias Diamond – when he was an ULFA leader. His a native of Dighlipar of Tamulpur area under Baksa district. Saraniya is son of late Late Khanta Saraniya – an Indian Army personel. He is married to Smti Barnali Baishya and has a daughter named Sristisikha Saraniya. As per his affidavit to magistrate – filing nomination for Lok Sabha Election 2014 – he is aged 45 years.
Saraniya, who was a most wanted dreaded militant leader till few years back, was known for his deadly combat skills in fighting the Indian Armed Forces. It is known that Saraniya used to wear at least 20 Kg of deadly explosives all the time such that even if someone dares shoots him from 200-300 meters range – the shooter too would be killed in the blast. With this courage, he was known to fight armed forces in a standing posture without any fear. This deadly courage and stories that went around the villages from ear to ear about this most wanted militant actually turned him into a Fighter figure in most rural areas of lower Assam, during the last two decades when he was fighting for his dream of Independent Assam.
Saraniya along with his Battalion had joined the peace and lateral talks with the Union Government of India three years back. Just before the general elections, several local groups had requested Saraniya to fight with ballot instead of bullets. The locals were frustrated with the corrupted and biased leadership of BTAD and the demands for separate Bodoland. In BTAD – the Boro indigenous people are not the majority – while more than 50% people in BTAD are non-Boro who don’t want to get Assam divided in parts again. They wanted a strong man who could have the courage to stand against the Bodo Leadership of BTAD, who were once militant leaders themselves in nineties. Saraniya, respecting the people’s wishes did stand in the elections and with no prior experience of public meeting, rallies or speeches made a historic clean sweep with votes.
While the country is euphoric with Modi’s victory and looking ahead for a bright future, Heera Saraniya’s grand entry as an Independent can very well mark the beginning of a new era of regional politics in the North Eastern states.
It is to be noted that this remained probably the only instance in India during 2014 general elections where the people chose their leader to contest elections.