Two new parties, Assam Jatiya Parishad and Raijor Dal, will jointly contest the upcoming Assembly elections in the state, Hindustan Times reported on Thursday. The parties were reportedly formed in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

Elections to the 126-member Assam Assembly is likely to be held in April-May.

Assam Jatiya Parishad chief Lurin Jyoti Gogoi said his group had forged an alliance with activist Akhil Gogoi-led Raijor Dal, but added that a formal announcement would be made soon. The two met for two-and-a-half hours at the Guwahati Medical College Hospital, where Akhil Gogoi – under arrest since December for his role in the anti-Citizenship Act protests in Assam – is receiving treatment for various ailments.

“This is the first time we have met after the formation of our parties and election to our posts,” Lurin Jyoti Gogoi said, according to Hindustan Times. “Akhil Gogoi has been kept in detention for long in an undemocratic manner and should be released immediately. We have been saying since our party’s inception that both AJP and RD would contest the polls together and after the meeting, we can tell people of Assam that the decision for a tie-up is final.”

Lurin Jyoti Gogoi said his party was currently holding discussions with the Bodoland People’s Front, a part of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led state government. He added that the talks were “moving in the positive direction”.

The Assam Jatiya Parishad chief highlighted that his party had already formed an alliance with the Autonomous State Demand Committee from Karbi Anglong. “We are also looking to ally with Ganashakti and Rabha Hasong, both of which are part of the NDA,” Lurinjyoti Gogoi said, according to PTI. “We want to create an alliance of ethnic parties that will engage in inclusive politics.”

The two parties, however, asserted that they will not join forces with the Congress-led Grand Alliance in the state, reported NorthEast Now.

Lurin Jyoti Gogoi said the regional parties were capable of overthrowing the BJP-led government in the state and stave off the influence of the Congress. He also dismissed reports of the state elections being a three-corner contest, adding that it will be between “regional forces against national and communal parties”. “Like us, Akhil Gogoi has also been saying that there is no alternative to regional parties, and to ensure that there is no division in the regional votes, we needed to come together,” he added.

In January, the Raijor Dal had written to the Assam Jatiya Parishad chief in relation to the electoral understanding between the two parties. Student organisations, All Assam Students Union and the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad, both of which played key roles in the anti-CAA protests, have formed the Assam Jatiya Parishad.

India saw massive protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in 2019. The Act provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the condition that they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. It has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims.