Akhil Gogoi to head Raijor Dal
Akhil Gogoi, who has been in jail since his arrest on December 12, 2019, at the peak of the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act movement in Assam, will lead the recently floated Raijor Dal as its first president.
The regional party named Akhil its president in the wee hours of Saturday at its first executive meeting held in Moran in Sivasagar district.
Akhil, 44, appeared to be the unanimous choice for the post because he was the founding member of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, was also the brain behind Raijor Dal and one of the most recognisable faces in contemporary state politics, a senior participant told The Telegraph.
One of the participants said that Akhil is likely to contest the polls from behind bars from Sivasagar district. Several members said the government was afraid of Akhil because of his fearlessness and growing popularity, a reason for “somehow” keeping him in jail till at least the elections.
The National Investigation Agency court here had on Thursday rejected Akhil’s bail plea for his alleged links with Maoists. Senior minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had later said that Akhil was in jail because of his Maoist links and not because of his involvement in the anti-CAA protests.
Akhil has been a vocal critic of the state government, often criticising its plans and policies.
The 90-member executive committee of Raijor Dal also named KMSS president Bhasco de Saikia, K.C. Phukan and Jitul Deka as the working presidents, and nine general secretaries, including Kamal Kumar Medhi and Hussain Mohammad Shahjahan.
The other highlight of the three-day convention was the presence of Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) general secretary Chittaranjan Basumatary at the final-day open session on Saturday, fuelling speculations about a tie-up between the two regional outfits, formed around the same time last year, to take on the ruling BJP in the Assembly polls this year.
The AJP is led by former All Assam Students Union general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi, who has said that the doors for alliance with regional parties are always open.
Akhil being named as president and the presence of a senior AJP leader were the two high points of the convention which also discussed its roadmap, party sources said. Akhil’s mother and family were present at the open session.
One of the Raijor Dal advisers, educationist Sitanath Lahkar, said the BJP rule in the state has made it difficult for one to survive with personal liberty and rights.
“They invoke Xankardeb but they don’t believe in his teachings of secularism and equality. The party (BJP) has to be defeated for the harm it has caused to the social fabric of Assam and personal liberty of individuals,” Lahkar said.
He had also suggested a few slogans for the party to be used during the polls, one of which — “Bol Bogorao” (lets displace or unseat) — has found traction on social media.
The presence of both Raijor Dal (people’s party) and the AJP is likely to hit the regional Asom Gana Parishad most. The AGP is an ally of the BJP in the state.
Both the Raijor Dal and the AJP have also made it clear about having no truck with either the BJP, the Congress or the AIUDF. Their poll plank will be an inclusive, developed and self-sufficient Assam.