Jailed peasants’ rights activist Akhil Gogoi will contest the Assam Assembly elections from Sivasagar constituency as a candidate of his newly-formed party Raijor Dal, PTI reported on Saturday.

The 126-member Assam Assembly will go to polls in three phases on March 27, April 1, and April 6. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.

Raijor Dal working president Bhasco De Saikia confirmed Gogoi’s constituency while announcing a list of 17 candidates for the first two phases of the election. Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi began their Assam poll campaign from Sibsagar.

“We have decided to contest in only 17 seats with the intention of not dividing the votes so that the BJP is defeated and to ensure that there is an anti-CAA government in the state,” Saikia said.

In the first phase, the Raijor Dal will contest elections from Sivasagar, Chabua, Moran, Mahmara, Teok, Bokakhat, Rupohihat, Dhing, Tezpur, Bihpuria and Rangapara constituencies, according to PTI. The party will contest from Rangia, Kamalpur, Raha, Jamunamukh and Dalgaon in the second phase.

Also read: In Assam, Congress stitches up a broad alliance. Will it be able to topple the BJP?

Gogoi’s party will contest the election with Assam Jatiya Parishad, which was launched by the All Assam Students’ Union and the Asom Jatiyotabadi Chhatra Parishad.

The Bharatiya Janata Party is contesting the Assam elections with Asom Gana Parishad and United People’s Party Liberal. The Congress has formed an alliance with the All India United Democratic Front, Anchalik Gana Morcha and three Left parties.

Earlier this week, Gogoi wrote a letter to the Opposition leaders urging strategic unity to keep the BJP at bay – but said the “communal” All India United Democratic Front should be kept out of such an arrangement.

“We think the BJP and the AIUDF are two sides of the same coin,” Gogoi wrote, according to The Indian Express. He said both of them strengthened each other, adding that, “If we take them along with us, we will be weakened ethically, ideologically and politically.”

Last month, the Supreme Court had denied Gogoi bail in a case related to the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests in Assam in 2019.

Gogoi, the leader of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, was placed under preventive arrest on December 12, 2019, after he staged a sit-in protest outside the Jorhat deputy commissioner’s office. The National Investigation Agency said that Gogoi had been booked for “waging a war against the nation”, conspiracy and rioting. Three days after his arrest, the activist was charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, 2019, 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. The Act sparked huge protests across the country.