Akhil Gogoi to contest polls in 2021; work to start from March

Guwahati: Firebrand peasant leader Akhil Gogoi will contest the next Assembly polls in Assam, the groundwork for which will start soon with the possible renaming of his political party or even the birth of a new one.

Gogoi, who is the adviser to the farmers’ body Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), said while he was not averse to having an alliance with like-minded forces to fight “fascist BJP”, he would prefer to create a third alternative excluding the Congress.

“We are going into electoral politics. We have had debates, within the KMSS and nationally, whether fascism could be resisted only by movements. We reached the understanding that without parliamentary politics, BJP’s communal fascism cannot be resisted,” Gogoi told PTI in an exclusive interview.

He had discussed the electoral move in the executive committee meeting of the KMSS on December 28, the day after he was released from jail, where he had been lodged for three- and-a-half months on charges framed under the sedition and National Security Act.

“We already have a political party, the Ganamukti Sangram, which was set up in 2015. Now we will make it broad- based to include all sections of society. We may form a new entity also. The formal work on the political front will begin from the end of March this year,” Gogoi said.

The party will focus on two aspects initially — resisting “fascism” and expanding the political front across the state, he added.

Gogoi said in reply to a question that the outfit would not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

“We will not fight in 2019 although we will oppose the BJP. We will take time for a proper political understanding and creating a strong network. We will contest the Assembly polls in 2021,” he said.

The RTI activist told PTI that he would travel to almost all parts of Assam to know about people’s grievances before forming ground-level committees. He expected to have at least five members in the political party from each village.

Asked if fighting the BJP meant an alliance with the Congress, Gogoi said, “We are not ready to form an alliance with the Congress. There has been no discussion internally on this.”

Senior Congress leader and former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had on several occasions expressed his willingness to have a tie-up with the KMSS to oust the BJP from power in the next election.

The 41-year-old peasant leader stressed that Indian society was at an important turning point, where identity movements were on the rise.

“You can take any example — the Bhim Sena, Patel agitation, Dalit movement by Jignesh Mevani or the adivasi struggle in Jharkhand. All these identity and ethnic movements are becoming more important and are uniting with an electoral understanding to resist fascism,” he said.

He said there was a movement towards forming a third alternative uniting Dalit and sub-nationalist struggles across India.

“There is another very interesting aspect. Till now, movements such as the Dalit struggle were confined to identity politics. But for the first time, land rights issues are being raised. That is why democratic and anti-imperialist movements are also trying to unite,” he said.

The KMSS leader also said to fight BJP, the option of forming a united alliance with opposition parties was also being discussed.

“The deliberation is going on whether we can include the Congress, AAP, TMC, Left and other anti-BJP parties in the greater opposition to stop the BJP,” he said.

On January 9, Akhil Gogoi joined newly-elected Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani’s ‘Yuva Hunkar rally’ in Delhi along with student leaders and others to demand the release of Bhim Army founder Chandrashekhar Azad.

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