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BJP says Akhil Gogoi’s group members have joined the party

Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti leaders said most of the ‘saffron party recruits’ were never its members

Several members of peasant rights group Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday, a week after dozens of celebrities in Assam who had been at the forefront of the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) movement did so.

The KMSS was founded by jailed anti-CAA activist Akhil Gogoi, who has been projected as the chief ministerial candidate of the political party the group intends to float ahead of the Assembly elections in 2021.

“Altogether 29 people joined our party today [Monday] and 26 of them are from the KMSS. They have shown the BJP is an all-encompassing party and together we will take the State and the country to greater heights,” BJP’s Assam unit president and MLA Ranjeet Kumar Dass said.

The KMSS, however, said most of the new “saffron party recruits” had never been its members.

“Except for Lakhen Hazarika, who quit our organisation as a secretary in February this year, none of them had anything to do with us. The people may be real but associating them with KMSS is fictional,” KMSS president Bhasco De Saikia told The Hindu.

He hoped Mr. Gogoi would be released from prison soon for KMSS to start working on forming a political party.

Mr. Gogoi has been jailed since December 2019 after the National Investigation Agency booked him on charges of sedition and under provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for alleged links with the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist).

He was also accused of inciting violence during the anti-CAA protests that led to the death of at least six people in Assam.

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