Will project Maya as PM candidate: Jogi
Raipur: It is an alliance that took shape in just a few hours of discussion and the former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi wants it to continue till the 2019 general elections by projecting his ally and BSP supremo Mayawati as the prime ministerial candidate.
“Mayawatiji deserves to be the country’s Prime Minister. She is appropriate for the post and she has the potential,” Mr Jogi said.
Describing the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief as a natural leader, the bureaucrat-turned-politician told PTI in an interview, “There are various things that work in her favour. She is a woman, a dalit and also has an experience of serving as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh four times.”
Mr Jogi, 72, is the chief ministerial candidate of the alliance. He had earlier served as Chhattisgarh’s first chief minister as a Congress leader between 2000 and 2003 after the tribal-dominated state was carved out of Madhya Pradesh.
However, the Congress could not return to power after Mr Jogi’s tenure ended and the BJP leader Raman Singh has served as its chief minister for nearly 15 years since then. One reason many cite for Congress’ failure to come back to power in the state is infighting among various state leaders. Mr Jogi left the Congress in 2016.
While Chhattisgarh has always seen a two-way fight between the arch rivals BJP and Congress, Jogi-Mayawati alliance has become a keenly-watched third force this time. Even chief minister Singh, a BJP stalwart in the state where elections for 90 Assembly seats wo-uld be held in two phases on November 12 and Nov-ember 20, has acknowledged that Mr Jogi would impact the BJP as well as the Congress.
The BSP has one MLA in the outgoing Assembly, while its vote share fell to 4.27 per cent in 2013. However, combining of forces between Mr Jogi and Ms Mayawati is being seen as having a multiplier effect, especially in terms of caste equations.
Out of 90 total seats, 29 are reserved for tribals and 10 for Scheduled Castes. In the non-reserved seats, the population of SCs is more than 10 per cent in 40 assemblies. Besides, the other backward classes constitute about 48 per cent of the state’s population.
While Ms Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party is known to attract dalit voters, Mr Jogi himself is said to have a stronghold among voters from his caste base of Mahars and Satnamis.