Ajit Jogi’s New Party Could Affect Political Scene in Chhattisgarh

Ajit Jogi claims he has to make a new party as the Congress is incapable of tackling the Raman Singh government.

3 min read
Former Congress leader Ajit Jogi. (Photo Courtesy: <a href=""></a>)

The election to Chhattisgarh Assembly is over two years away, but former chief minister and Congress member Ajit Jogi’s recent announcement to float a new party has led to speculation about its possible impact on the state’s bipolar politics, dominated by the BJP and Congress.

It is impossible at this stage to predict the gains Jogi’s new outfit may or may not make in the Assembly election, but his sudden decision has created a buzz right from Delhi to Raipur, a political observer said.

The fact that he has a strong following in the state – despite being out of power for a long time – has prompted the ruling BJP as well as the Congress to devise strategies to counter him, he claimed.

Jogi had said he was forced to make the new outfit as the state Congress was incapable of taking on the Raman Singh government.

It appears that the main opposition, Congress, is working like a supporter of the ruling BJP instead of fighting against its misrule. The state needs a strong opposition. My supporters and well wishers want me to take a decision to free this state from the corrupt governance.
Ajit Jogi

The ruling BJP is likely to face anti-incumbency, apart from stiff opposition from Congress and a third party led by Jogi in the 2018 Assembly polls.

Jogi has considerable influence over the Satnami SC community and tribals, who comprise nearly 50 percent population of the state, and he could damage the prospects of both the BJP and Congress.

If he succeeds in garnering support from SC voters, it could harm the BJP, which is currently holding 9 out of 10 SC reserved seats in the Assembly.

Former and current Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, Ajit Jogi and Raman Singh respectively. (Photo: ANI screengrab)
Former and current Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, Ajit Jogi and Raman Singh respectively. (Photo: ANI screengrab)
Jogi’s disassociation with the Congress would inflict damage to the main opposition’s vote bank in the state which in turn will benefit BJP. It’s not right to say BJP is worried with the recent political events in the state.
Dharamlal Kaushik, BJP State Chief

However, leaders of the two key parties do not see Jogi as a threat and, in fact, claim that they will benefit from his move.

Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee chief Bhupesh Baghel also feels Jogi’s new outfit will certainly help his party to wrest power in Chhattisgarh.

The formation of Jogi’s new party will not have any effect on Congress. In fact, the BJP cashed on the (negative) image of Jogi in the previous polls. With Jogi on his way out, the Congress will get rejuvenated.
Bhupesh Baghel, Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee Chief

Jogi had on Monday made a formal announcement to float a new political outfit, days after he raised a banner of revolt against his parent party, accusing it of working as the “B team” of the BJP in the state.The announcement marked the culmination of the long-drawn factionalism within the Chhattisgarh party unit led by Bhupesh Baghel.

Jogi, a bureaucrat-turned-politician, was made the first chief minister of the newly formed Chhattisgarh after its division from Madhya Pradesh. However, when Congress suffered defeat in 2003 by the BJP, Jogi was blamed. Subsequently, the BJP won the Assembly polls three times consecutively in the state and pushed Jogi to the edge.

In January this year, the state Congress unit had expelled Ajit Jogi’s son, Amit, from the party for a period of six years after some audio tapes purportedly revealed that the bypoll held for Antagarh Assembly seat in 2014 was fixed.The seat went to the BJP as the Congress candidate had pulled out of the race, apparently over financial inducements. The state Congress had also sought to sack Ajit Jogi from the party.

(This article has been edited for length.)

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