Sivasagar, July 4: Raijor Dal President Akhil Gogoi on Sunday said his party has broken the alliance with regional front Assam Jatiya Parishad, led by former AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi.
The two newly floated regional parties, which were born out of the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act sentiment, had joined hands in February this year and contested the assembly election in March-April. The AJP had drawn a blank and the RD managed one seat with Gogoi winning as an Independent MLA.
"We were not in alliance during the polls. We broke the tie-up in the middle of the election. There was no united opposition platform, and so we parted ways," Gogoi told PTI in an interview.
However, neither of the two parties announced the falling apart of their alliance during the election, although speculation was rife that their association had run into rough weather, especially on the seat selection process. Out of the total 126 constituencies, the AJP had contested in 83 seats and the RD in 38. In 16 constituencies, both the parties fielded candidates and fought against each other, thereby dividing the anti-CAA votes.
Gogoi walked free on July 1 after 567 days of imprisonment following his arrest in December 2019 for his alleged role in the violent anti-CAA movement in Assam, as the National Investigation Agency failed to frame any charge against him and three associates. Asked why the party did not formally declare the end of the alliance before the polls, the first-time legislator said, "We contested the assembly election alone. As of now, we are not in any alliance with the AJP."
On February 4, AJP president Lurinjyoti Gogoi had met Akhil Gogoi at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, where he was undergoing treatment for various ailments while being in judicial custody, and announced finalisation of their coming together for the polls.
On whether AJP's decision of nominating too many candidates without consulting the RD derailed the regional alliance, Akhil Gogoi said: "I don't know. I don't want to comment on them. We didn't want to have three poles in the election, but two - BJP and anti-BJP. But the Congress cheated us by breaking the united front. At that time, we also broke the alliance with the AJP." The Congress, which was in power for 15 years in Assam since 2001, had formed a 'Grand Alliance' with AIUDF, BPF, CPI(M), CPI, CPI(ML), Anchalik Gana Morcha (AGM), RJD, Adivasi National Party (ANP) and Jimochayan (Deori) Peoples Party (JPP) to fight the assembly election against the BJP-led NDA.
"After severing ties with the AJP, I myself appealed to people that they should not vote for our candidates, but vote for only the strongest BJP nominees in the respective seats. Such a thing has never happened in the world that the party president is appealing not to vote for his own party's candidates.
"If we had not done this and kept it a triangular contest, the BJP would have got more seats. Even after so much sacrifice, some people still blame us for dividing anti-BJP votes," Gogoi said.
The BJP had bagged 60 seats, while its allies AGP won nine and UPPL six. In the opposition camp, the Congress bagged 29 seats, AIUDF 16, BPF four and the CPI(M) cornered one seat. Peasant leader-cum-RTI activist Gogoi's Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and 70 other groups had last year formed the Raijor Dal. On the other hand, the Assam Jatiya Parishad was jointly created by the All Assam Students' Union (AASU) and the Assam Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chhatra Parishad (AJYCP) in 2020.
Gogoi, who contested as an Independent from Sivasagar, became the first Assamese to win an election remaining behind the bars and without any physical campaigning. He also became the first in the Assam Assembly to take oath on May 21 as a prisoner MLA, arriving from jail on special permission by the court.