A day after the Gauhati High Court rejected incarcerated peasant leader Akhil Gogoi’s bail plea – who has been in jail for over a year – on January 7 for the second time, the newly floated political party Raijor Dal selected him as the president at a three-day-long convention held at Moranhat in Assam’s Dibrugarh district on Friday, January 8.
In its first state level convention ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections, presided over by Tulsi Das, the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) backed political party also selected KMSS leaders Bhasko D Saikia, Kabindra Chetia Phukan and Jitual Deka as working president of the party.
Attended by thousands of participants, the convention which began on Thursday, also held discussion sessions with intellectuals, social scientists, educationists and prominent leaders on the second day of the convention. Reportedly, representatives of over 70 ethnic organisations including the Bir Lachit Sena, and the Satra Sanghathan and members of the artist fraternity advised the selection of the executives for the newly launched political party.
Discussions on the party structure, its constitution, ideology and thrust areas also took place during the meeting.
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Addressing the convention, former principal of Cotton University and adviser of Raijor Dal, Dr Sitanath Lahkar reportedly said that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Assam is hoping to win the upcoming Assembly election in the state by keeping Akhil Gogoi behind the bars. Another KMSS leader, Dhairjya Konwar – who had also been jailed with Gogoi – also criticised the state government and the Chief Minister for his failure to keep its promises to the people, as quoted in a regional daily, Dainik Assam.
However, as per reports in The Assam Tribune, the Raijor Dal has not yet decided on the possible alliance with the Asom Jatiya Parishad, backed by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP).
Gogoi, who was arrested in December 2019 in relation to anti Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests that shook the entire nation, has been in jail ever since after being denied bail twice. His arrest was cited as a “preventive measure” to control the deteriorating law and order situation over the protests raging in the state.
Following his arrest, the National Investigative Agency had charged Gogoi with the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), for “waging a war against the nation”. While he was granted bail in a special NIA court on March 17 and by the Gauhati High Court on July 17 in three cases related with the anti-CAA protests, he has also been booked under alleged cases of sedition for which he is still awaiting bail. Three other members of the KMSS, who were arrested along with Gogoi are already out on bail.
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