As the campaigning for the second phase of the Chhattisgarh elections ended on Sunday, it became increasingly clear that Renu Jogi, wife of former chief minister Ajit Jogi, was a clear favourite for chief ministership if the Congress came to power in the state.
“She is accessible and down to earth. If she becomes chief minister, our area will be more developed,” says Janaki Sahu, a housewife in Kargikala, where Ajit Jogi addressed an election meeting on Sunday.
“The BJP government has to go,” she said, detailing what Renu Jogi had done for women’s empowerment after winning this seat in 2008.
However, Rambihari Yadav of Kota village dismissed such talk. “She sits in Raipur, some 200 km from here. How could she undertake people’s work by sitting there?” he asked and said the locals were supporting the BJP’s Kashi Sahu, a young and dynamic leader.
Fielding Renu Jogi in Kota and her son, Amit Jogi, in the neighbouring Marwahi constituency, is another side of dynastic politics, says the BJP.
“The people cannot forget the Jogi raj and it will reflect in the poll outcome,” said Sahu, who is confident of victory.
Renu Jogi won by about 10,000 votes in 2008 whereas in 2003 the Congress candidate, the late Rajendra Prasad Shukla, won by around 1,600 votes.
“This time she will win by not fewer than 25,000 votes,” Ajit Jogi said.
However, he was evasive on the issue of Renu Jogi’s possible CMship. “The Congress is not a fascist party like the BJP. It’s a democratic party and only elected MLAs can select their chief minister.”