Akhil Gogoi, the founder of Raijor Dal and an RTI activist , is contesting the Assam Assembly elections from jail. He was arrested last year following protests in December 2019 against the Central government’s Citizenship Amendment act (CAA). He has been in jail since then under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The FIR by the National Investigating Agency had accused Gogoi and others of being involved in “terrorist activities” and using the issue of the CAA to allegedly promote enmity between groups. Gogoi also leads a farmers body called Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) that has been in the forefront of several protests.

Also Read: Assam assembly polls phase 1: Key constituencies, candidates to watch out for

The 45-year-old jailed activist has aligned for the polls with Asom Jatiya Parishad of Lurinjyoti Gogoi. Both parties are a result of the anti-CAA protests that swept across Assam and their pitch is ‘Save Assam’. In the absence of physical campaigning, jailed Gogoi has written open letters to voters where he talks about the future of Assam being “dark under BJP rule”.

The Raijor Dal leader, who is contesting from Sivasagar, exhorts people to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the BJP. “Assam’s future will depend on the people and they have to take the final decision to save the state. If Assam is to be saved then do not vote for BJP or those in favour of CAA,” he appealed.

Gogoi’s interest in politics started during his student days at Cotton College in Guwahati. He joined the United Revolutionary Movement Council of Assam(URMCA), a mass organisation of CPI-ML-PCC.

Also Read | Election fever: How BJP and Congress are wooing the voters in Assam

Since mid-2009, Gogoi has been leading a statewide movement against construction of big dams in the ecologically sensitive regions of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. He was also associated with Anna Hazare-led anti-graft movement India Against Corruption.

It remains to be seen how much of a dent the AJP-Raijor Dal alliance will cause to the BJP’s electoral prospects. The state votes in three phases — on March 27, April 1 and April 6 — to elect a new Assembly. Sivasagar goes to polls on March 27. The votes will be counted on May 2.