Chhattisgarh Dashes Ajit Jogi’s Hopes To Emerge As A Key Player In Case A Hung Assembly

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New Delhi: The decisive mandate for the Congress in Chhattisgarh has dashed the bureaucrat-turned-politician hoped to emerge as a key player in case the elections produced a hung Assembly after 15 years of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rule with a decisive mandate in the state.

The mandate for the Congress in Chhattisgarh has dashed former chief minister Ajit Jogi’s hopes of emerging as the kingmaker in the state. Jogi started Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (JCC) after quitting the Congress in June 2016. He tried to make the contest in the electorally bi-polar Chhattisgarh triangular and got into a pre-poll alliance with former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Communist Party of India (CPI).

Results and trends available late Tuesday showed that the JCC could muster about 7.5% vote share and get a couple of seats. The BSP’s share stood at 3.9%.

JCC had been expected to damage the Congress given that the two parties had an overlapping support base. Jogi wielded clout among Satnamis, a Scheduled Castes community which has traditionally supported Congress.

But Jogi failed to extend his influence outside his stronghold of Bilaspur. He had almost no impact in tribal Bastar and Sarguja areas and the region around Chhattisgarh’s capital, Raipur.

The electoral setback could spell trouble within the ranks of Jogi’s party. Jogi might find it difficult to run the JCC since it is packed with former Congressmen. The Congress’s nearly three-fourths majority could tempt Jogi loyalists to return to their parent party, which is also expected to wean away those who joined hands with Jogi after being denied ticket from the Congress.

Convincing the BSP to remain in the alliance and avoid a tie-up with the Congress for the parliamentary election due next year will be another challenge for Jogi. The BSP is a major force in Uttar Pradesh and any poll pact between the Mayawati-led party and the Congress should have a bearing on Chhattisgarh too.

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