Akhil Gogoi to join Opposition ranks? Activist gets call to merge party with Trinamool as Raijor Dal seals deal with Congress in Assam

By PTI

GUWAHATI: Opposition Raijor Dal on Friday announced its second candidate among the five assembly seats in Assam, where bypolls will take place on October 30.

Addressing a press conference here, Raijor Dal president Akhil Gogoi said his party’s nominee Sanjib Gogoi will contest for the Mariani seat in the upcoming byelections.

The party has fielded Dhaijya Konwar from the Thowra assembly constituency.

“Sanjib Gogoi will contest the Mariani seat. It is my home constituency and we are very sure to win it,” the party president said.

Asked about the possible association with the Congress, Gogoi said, “We were the first to propose one opposition candidate to defeat the BJP, but the Congress did not show any interest. When we have announced our candidates, then they are offering us one seat.”

He said his party will not leave Thowra seat but is ready to consider the Congress’ proposal if they get support in the constituency.

“If they (Congress) support us, then we will campaign for them in the remaining four seats,” Gogoi said.

Thowra and Mariani seats were bagged by the Congress in the assembly polls held earlier this year, but the MLAs resigned and joined the ruling BJP.

The other three constituencies, which are going for polls, are Bhabanipur, Tamulpur and Gossaigaon.

The Majuli seat also fell vacant, but the election will not be held this time as its representative, Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, had resigned from the House just hours after the bypoll schedule was announced by the Election Commission on September 28.

Akhil Gogoi is the lone legislator from the Raijor Dal in the assembly and was elected as an Independent.

The Assam Congress on Friday announced that it will contest four seats out of six, where bypolls will be held in the days to come, and left one constituency each to the Raijor Dal and the Assam Jatiya Parishad.

The two regional parties, which had contested the March-April assembly elections separately from the Congress-led grouping, have not finalised their decisions to accept the offer from the grand old party.

Meanwhile, the CPI, which was a part of the Congress-led Grand Alliance during the assembly elections, fielded Krishna Gogoi from Thowra.

The Congress, which was in power for 15 years in Assam since 2001, had formed the Grand Alliance with the AIUDF, BPF, CPI(M), CPI, CPI(ML), Anchalik Gana Morcha (AGM), RJD, Adivasi National Party (ANP) and Jimochayan (Deori) Peoples Party (JPP) to fight against the BJP-led NDA in the assembly election this year.

In the 126-member Assam assembly, the BJP’s strength at present is 59.

The ruling allies — the AGP and the UPPL has nine and five MLAs respectively, while the Congress has 27 legislators, the AIUDF has 15 members, the BPF has three and the CPI(M) has one.

There is one Independent member.