scorecardresearch
Follow Us:
Saturday, August 13, 2022

Explained: Akhil Gogoi and the CAA factor

Founder of the farmers’ body Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), Gogoi has for long been agitating for the rights of peasants in Assam.

Written by Tora Agarwala , Edited by Explained Desk | Dibrugarh |
Updated: March 11, 2021 10:46:25 pm
Akhil Gogoi, who is Akhil Gogoi, Akhil Gogoi nomination, Akhil Gogoi Assam elections, Assam elections, Indian ExpressAkhil Gogoi being taken by security personnel after submitting his nomination papers to the returning officers via video-conference, ahead of the Assam Assembly polls, in Guwahati, Monday, March 8, 2021. (PTI Photo)

On Monday, jailed peasant leader Akhil Gogoi submitted nomination papers for two constituencies — Sibsagar and Mariani — for the coming Assembly elections in Assam. Later, it was decided he would be contesting only from Sibsagar. In a statement, Gogoi’s party Raijor Dal said it was “sacrificing” Mariani seat in the larger interest of defeating the BJP. Gogoi, in jail since December 2019, is currently under treatment at the Gauhati Medical College Hospital.

Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inbox

Akhil Gogoi’s importance

Founder of the farmers’ body Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), Gogoi has for long been agitating for the rights of peasants in Assam. He has also been vocal about land rights issues, evictions, big dam projects, among others, and has been arrested on several occasions over the years, both during the current BJP regime as well as during the Congress rule.

In 2019, he emerged as one of the key faces of the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protests in Assam, shortly after which he was booked by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on charges of sedition. On December 12, 2019, he was charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and has been in jail since.

Subscriber Only Stories
What three letters, part of the Lahore Conspiracy Case, will be part of a...Premium
Seven decades since Independence, it’s high time our films reflecte...Premium
India still fails its women, 75 years after IndependencePremium
Cricket chases the American dreamPremium

Late last year, the KMSS announced it was forming the political party Raijor Dol, with Gogoi as the president. The party is in alliance with another regional party, the Assam Jatiya Parishad, which also owes its origin to the anti-CAA protests.

The Sibsagar seat

Sibsagar (in Sivasagar district) is located in Upper Assam, which was at the heart of the anti-CAA protests. As part of the larger Ahom belt, the region is identified with indigenous Assamese population.

Sibsagar, as well as Mariani, the other seat from where Gogoi filed his nomination, are Congress strongholds. While Sibsagar had been represented by Pranab Kumar Gogoi from 2001 onwards (he died in February 2020), Rupjyoti Kurmi (from the tea tribe community) has won three successive terms from Mariani since 2006.

Advertisement

Incidentally, the decision to not contest from Mariani comes after Gogoi attacked the Congress over its alliance with the AIUDF. He had urged all opposition parties to come together to field joint candidates against the BJP in all seats.

Gogoi’s choice

The Raijor Dal leader hopes to cash in on the anti-CAA sentiment in the region. Sibsagar, in fact, was where Gogoi addressed his last huge public rally, on December 11, 2019, before he was arrested.

Incidentally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held the BJP’s land patta distribution programme here in February, his first visit to Assam in the run-up to the elections. It was seen as an overture to indigenous voters to calm the anti-CAA anger.

Advertisement
📣 JOIN NOW 📣: The Express Explained Telegram Channel

Mariani had earlier been chosen by the Raijor Dal as Gogoi’s native village Lekharukhon Gaon falls in the constituency. It also has a mixed population — apart from Assamese, there are Bengalis, tea tribes and Muslims. Over the years, the KMSS has worked extensively for the rights of these groups, with Gogoi leading Bhoomi Patta Andolans for landless communities, including tea tribes.

He also rallied for local people caught up in the border dispute between Assam and Nagaland (Mariani is located on the border).

📣 Join our Telegram channel (The Indian Express) for the latest news and updates

For all the latest Explained News, download Indian Express App.

  • Newsguard
  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
  • Newsguard
First published on: 11-03-2021 at 12:49:46 pm
0 Comment(s) *
* The moderation of comments is automated and not cleared manually by indianexpress.com.

Featured Stories

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement