Ananta Rai is the self-proclaimed king of the Cooch Behar and descendent of royal Koch Rajbongshi family. Koch Rajbongshi has a substantial population in the Lower Assam and adjoining West Bengal.
Rai heads a faction of Greater Cooch Behar People’s Association (GCPA), which advocates separate state or territory for Koch Rajbongshi in West Bengal. The kingdom of Kochs is spread across Assam and North Bengal.
Rai told media persons, “Shah will come to my home of February 11. We are with NDA and he will come here to discuss political activity as assembly election is around the corner.”
He claimed that across the seven districts of West Bengal, his organisation has a supporter base of 18.50 lakh people.
He is hopeful that soon scheduled tribe status will be given to Koch Rajbonshi community in Assam.
Six communities including Koch Rajbongshi, Tai Ahom, Chutia, Maran, Matak and Adivasi are demanding Schedule Tribe status.
Rai has often claimed that Cooch Behar was illegally included in West Bengal and inclusion was against the treaty signed by Maharaja Jagaddipendra Narayan, on August 28, 1949, with the government of India.
GCPA bestowed upon Rai the title of Maharaja in 1998. The BJP in Assam has often said that as the National Register of Citizens (NRC) authority refused to accept the refugee certificates issued prior to 1971, Bengali Hindu, Koch Rajbonshi and Buddhist people got excluded from NRC in large numbers.
The final NRC list, published on August 31, 2019, had found more than 31.1 million people eligible to be included in the registry while leaving out over 1.9 million people.
Official sources confirmed ET that Shah will arrive in Guwahati on February 10 and on February 11 visit Chirang.