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  India   All India  13 Aug 2018  Congress ‘plots’ Ajit Jogi’s fall, woos his partymen

Congress ‘plots’ Ajit Jogi’s fall, woos his partymen

THE ASIAN AGE. | RABINDRA NATH CHOUDHURY
Published : Aug 13, 2018, 4:08 am IST
Updated : Aug 13, 2018, 4:08 am IST

Cong leaders say workers of Ajit Jogi’s JCCJ are leaving the party in hordes, realising that he has lost his political relevance in Chhattisgarh.

Ajit Jogi, former Chhattisgarh chief minister and chief of Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (Jogi), interacts with supporters at a rally.
 Ajit Jogi, former Chhattisgarh chief minister and chief of Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (Jogi), interacts with supporters at a rally.

Despite an exodus of leaders from his party, JCCJ, Ajit Jogi is hoping to win 4-5 seats in the year-end Assembly polls and bargain with the Cong to make his wife Chhattisgarh’s next chief minister in case of a fractured mandate.

Raipur: In his lyrical birthday wish to his son Amit when he turned 41 on August 7, bureaucrat-turned-politician and former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi gifted him a tip, wrapped in poetry, for success in politics.

The poem read, “Aisa chal chalana satru bach nap aye, bijoshree hamare charan chume (Plot a move to ensure your rival is robbed of all survival chances and victory kisses our feet)”.

Ironically, Mr Jogi himself was caught unawares recently when the Congress scripted a plot to make him politically irrelevant ahead of the Assembly polls later this year by triggering a mass exodus of workers and leaders in his newly-floated regional party, Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (Jogi) (JCCJ).

More than a dozen senior leaders along with hundreds of their followers have deserted his party in recent times to return to the fold of their parent party, Congress.

“Leaders and workers of JCCJ are leaving the party in hordes realising that Mr Jogi has lost his political relevance in Chhattisgarh,” Congress spokesman Sailesh Nitin Trivedy told this newspaper.

Junior Jogi put up a brave front by dismissing the disturbing trend, saying such developments are witnessed in all parties ahead of elections .

However, observers say that the JCCJ may be heading for a serious crisis and there are indications that Mr Jogi himself is unsure about his success in future.

Mr Jogi’s “emergency plan” to remain relevant despite a possible lacklustre show in the coming elections was exposed when his wife Renu, a sitting Congress MLA, sprang a surprise by deciding to seek re-nomination as Congress candidate from her constituency.

The announcement took many by surprise as, till recently, she was found sulking over her “complete” marginalization in the Congress.

“I persuaded her to contest from her constituency as JCCJ candidate. But, she refused to heed to my pleas citing contribution to our family by Sonia Gandhi,” Mr Jogi said.

Sources said that Mr Jogi is planning to bargain with the Congress to make his wife the chief minister in lieu of his support to it to form government in Chhattisgarh in case the year-end polls throw up a fractured mandate and JCCJ manages to secure four-five seats.

His reported “plan B” has kept his options open even to help BJP retain power in the state in such a situation by bargaining with the ruling party to make his son deputy chief minister.

“Every Assembly election in Chhattisgarh has always been a close race -between the BJP and the Congress. If the trend continues in this election, even a small gain by Mr Jogi may turn him into a king maker,” said Naresh Choubey, a Raipur-based political analyst.

In the 90-member Chhattisgarh Assembly, ruling BJP has strength of 49, while Congress has 37 MLAs.

“It is an open secret that JCCJ is a ‘B team’ of the BJP in Chhattisgarh. Mr Jogi will be used by chief minister Raman Singh in the year-end polls to help BJP retain power in the state,” said Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president Bhupesh Baghel.

Mr Trivedy emphatically predicted that it was end of the road for Mr Jogi in state politics the day he left Congress.

Mr Jogi broke away from Congress a couple of years ago to float JCCJ following expulsion of his son, a sitting MLA, from the party in the wake of allegations of fixing an Assembly by-election in BJP’s favour — a charge denied by the Jogi family.

“Mr Jogi has often said his political career began at the threshold of Sonia Gandhi’s house and will end there. Hence, he lost relevance in politics after he quit Congress,” Mr Trivedy said.

Tags: ajit jogi, sonia gandhi, chhattisgarh assembly
Location: India, Chhatisgarh, Raipur