Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh), The political gamble Chhattisgarh’s first Chief Minister Ajit Jogi has played in having alliance with Mayawati-led BSP has emerged as two-pronged sword as the move has resulted in a large number of Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (JCC) workers and leaders quitting the party.
According to sources here, there has been large scale desertion of JCC workers and leaders from Masturi assembly segment – a seat that has been allocated to the BSP in Bilaspur district as part of alliance arrangement.
“Many workers have quit JCC….But JCC district president of Masturi Juwala Prasad Chaturvedi and another senior leader Santosh Dubey – two formerly prominent Congress leaders – however still remain firm with the JCC,” said a source.
Sources also said there have been desertions of JCC leaders from key assembly segments such as Bilaspur, Rajnandgaon, Korba and Marwahi.
In Rajnandgaon, from where Ajit Jogi is proposing to take on the Chief Minister Raman Singh, about 25 JCC workers have quit the newly floated party protesting against the move to alliance with Mayawati’s outfit. Several of them out of frustration in fact has joined BJP, sources said.
“These leaders have their reason…. these leaders had quit Congress and tried to join forces with Ajit Jogi hoping they will have a distinct identity of their own. But now that the Jogi has apparently surrendered to Mayawati’s arm twisting and opted to give away 35 seats, we have a situation where JCC workers feel cheated,” says political observer Ravi Shukla, Editor of Bilaspur-based daily ‘Nav Pradesh’.Bilaspur district has seven assembly seats out of which Masturi has been given away to BSP kitty.
From the four MLAs in this district – JCC held initial advantage as Marwahi is a known Jogi family bastion from where in 2013 Amit Jogi had won the election.
“Ajit Jogi himself may contest making it the second constituency while from Bilha assembly seat, JCC may field the sitting MLA Siaram Kori,” a source said.
In Masturi, Congress is likely to repeat their sitting MLA Dilip Laharia, who had won the 2013 seat by a margin of 25,000 votes.
The JCC leadership is not sure of Kota seat also as this remains a big dilemma after Ajit Jogi’s wife Renu Jogi (sitting Congress legislator) has not yet formally quit the Congress party. “The Kota politics remains a puzzle as Congress and JCC are not sure about the future course of Renu Jogi. Congress president Rahul Gandhi too has not made anything clear,” the source said.
For her part, Renu Jogi is still being a ‘dedicated Congress legislator’ attending all Congress functions and meetings including one attended by Rahul Gandhi and so far did not attend a single public function with her husband Ajit Jogi.
“Renu ji’s message to Congress is expel me if you want, the Congress stance is quit Congress and join your husband if you want,” the source added.
In Bilaspur district, the BJP had three MLAs – in Bilaspur, Beltara and Takhatpur but the party hopes to enhance its base in the district. “The going seems to be getting tough nevertheless,” political observer Ravi Shukla said adding the BJP’s seats will never increase but could come down.