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Jogi to face flak as Cong fails in Chhattisgarh

Pradip Kumar Maitra, Hindustan Times  Raipur, December 08, 2013
First Published: 23:24 IST(8/12/2013) | Last Updated: 16:17 IST(10/12/2013)

Former Chhattisgarh chief minister and Congress leader Ajit Jogi is likely to be blamed for the party’s inability to wrest power from the BJP, party sources said here on Sunday. Among the four states where assembly election results were declared on Sunday, Chhattisgarh is the only one where the Congress was not routed. The party won 39 seats – one seat more than the last time – out of the 90 while the BJP got 49.

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Party sources said Jogi influenced the Congress leadership to give tickets to his loyalists who lost badly. And it is on this score that his rival and state Congress chief Charandas Mahant scored better because all four Congress candidates from his area — Korba district and Bastar — won.

Jogi’s rivals within the party — including veteran Motilal Vora, Mahant and opposition leader Ravindra Choube — wanted to restrict his sway over ticket distribution and other poll-related matters.

Besides, Jogi preferred to campaign on his own, particularly in areas where his loyalists were contesting. “This sent a wrong signal among the voters as they thought he would be back as CM despite the Congress not having expressed any such intent,” said a Congress leader.

Without naming anyone, Mahant said the defeat of former minister and party veteran Rampukar Singh, Choube and others indicated that there was sabotage within the party.

Jogi appeared to be in a joyous mood initially on Sunday, giving the impression that the Congress was winning. But by late afternoon when the results started pouring in, he was not traceable.

But his supporters held out till the very end.

Congress spokesperson Shailesh Nitin Trivedi said the party got 39 seats because it tried to project itself as a united house, which was not the case in the last two elections.

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