GUWAHATI : Akhil Gogoi, a social activist who was imprisoned for campaigning against CAA has become the first person to win the assembly elections from jail in Assam. He defeated his nearest BJP rival Surabhi Rajkonwari by 11,875 votes from Sibsagar seat. The founder of the newly formed Raijor dal has been in jail for sedition since December 2019. Akhil Gogoi, who contested as an independent, got 57,219 votes, which is 46.06 per cent. The Congress initially supported the Raijor party chief but later gave ticket to Subhramitra Gogoi, who finished third.
The RTI activist has written several open letters from the jail in an attempt to reach out to the people of the state and highlighted the problems that need to be rectified. His 85-year-old mother campaigned in the narrow streets of Sibsagar for her jailed son, which may have affected voters. Impressed by Priyada Gogoi’s perseverance, noted social activists Medha Patkar and Sandeep Pandey reached the city of Upper Assam and joined Akhil Gogoi’s mother in the campaign. Hundreds of young volunteers from the Raijor team campaigned from door to door to woo voters.
The BJP fielded senior leaders like Union minister Smriti Irani to campaign in support of Rajkonwari who addressed people in the constituency but finally Akhil Gogoi emerged the winner. The National Agency Agency (NIA) arrested him in 2019 for his alleged involvement in violent anti-CAA protests in the state. Political analyst Atiq-your-Rahman Barbhuiyan said Akhil Gogoi’s victory is historic as he is the only political prisoner after former Union minister late George Fernandes.