Akhil Gogoi, jailed president of Raijor Dal, wins from Sibsagar in Assam
The 45-year-old, who is at present admitted in Guwahati Medical College Hospital (GMCH), defeated Surabhi Rajkonwari of BJP
Peasant activist and president of Raijor Dal, Akhil Gogoi, who is under arrest since December 2019 for his alleged role in the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests, won from the Sibsagar seat in Assam.
The 45-year-old, who is at present admitted in Guwahati Medical College Hospital (GMCH), defeated Surabhi Rajkonwari of BJP. “We are yet to get official confirmation from the election officials. But the victory is almost certain as the lead from the nearest rival is considerable,” said Raijor Dal working president Bhasco De Saikia.
Raijor Dal was formed in October last year and Gogoi was named as the president of the party. He filed his candidature from hospital and was not able to campaign. For this election, Raijor Dal had tied up with Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP), another newly formed outfit.
Explaining Gogoi’s win, Kaustabh Deka, professor of political science in Dibrugarh University, said, “It’s one of these rare instances where just the candidate’s persona was able to secure his win. Gogoi was able to win despite a strong BJP show in upper Assam region.”
“It was an emotional campaign and lot of effort was put into it. Due to Gogoi’s popularity, several people from outside the constituency had stationed themselves in Sibsagar and worked in a coordinated manned with Raijor Dal workers to secure his win,” he added.
Gogoi was arrested in December 2019 after a case against him was lodged in Chabua police station in Dibrugarh district under various sections of IPC for criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly, rioting etc. Subsequently, sections 15(1) (a)/16 of UAPA were added to it. Trial in the case is yet to commence.
The case was later transferred to NIA the same month and a charge sheet was filed in June last year which alleged that Gogoi had led an anti-CAA movement which turned violent and led to arson and attacks on police personnel. According to the charge sheet, the peasant leader hatched a conspiracy to target a particular community in order to disturb unity and integrity of the country.
Last month, the Gauhati high court had upheld an earlier order issued by an NIA court granting bail to Gogoi. The leader is still in custody as he is yet to get bail in another case lodged against him by the investigative agency.
Though Gogoi did well in his seat, his party, which had contested in 29 seats, failed to make a mark in other constituencies.
“We have made an impression in few seats, such as Naoboicha, but there was not adequate preparedness due to paucity of time. The Congress-led alliance also played a part in affecting our chances,” Saikia said.