Chhattisgarh bypoll: In Ajit Jogi’s bastion of Marwahi, a direct fight between Congress, BJP
The Marwahi seat fell vacant following Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) chief Ajit Jogi‘s death in May. Bypolls to the seat are scheduled on November 3Updated: Oct 30, 2020, 12:50 IST
For the first time in 20 years, no member of the Jogi family will be in the fray for polls in Chhattisgarh’s Marwahi. The Marwahi seat fell vacant following Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) chief Ajit Jogi‘s death in May. Bypolls to the seat are scheduled on November 3. The nomination papers of Ajit Jogi’s son, Amit Jogi, were rejected on October 19, making it a direct fight between Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and ruling Congress.
The nomination was rejected on the basis of a high-power committee’s report that concluded Amit Jogi is not a tribal. His wife Richa Jogi’s nomination for the seat reserved for scheduled tribes was also cancelled on the same grounds.
Amit Jogi, who has been camping in Marwahi, said he has not told the people who they should vote but certainly who they should not vote for. He added he is meeting people of Marwahi to protect his father’s honour. “My campaign in Marawahi is not for the vote but to tell people about the injustice that has been done to me by the Congress government. This government has insulted the memory of my father and they keep abusing my father.”
He blamed chief minister Bhupesh Baghel for removing him from the contest. “But he cannot take me out of the hearts of people in Marwahi. I am sure that the people of Marwahi will protect the honour of my father.”
The constituency has been the bastion of the Jogis since Chhattisgarh’s formation in 2000. Ajit Jogi successfully contested by-election from Marwahi in 2001 after he became the state’s first chief minister in 2000. He retained the seat in 2003 and 2008 before his son successfully contested from Marwahi in 2013. Ajit Jogi won the seat again in 2018 two years after he quit the Congress and formed his own party, which bagged five seats. His ally Bahujan Samaj Party won two seats.
Congress leader RP Singh said after his father’s death, Amit Jogi enjoys no support in Marwahi. “Secondly, everyone in the constituency has understood that Amit has joined hands with BJP. We are winning the by-poll because BJP is nowhere.”
The BJP has fielded Gambhir Singh, a surgeon, and the Congress Dr Krishan Kumar Dhruw, who has served as a medical officer in the area.
BJP leader Sacchinand Upsane said they will win with a huge margin. “The Congress is spreading rumours that Amit Jogi is with us... They came third in last elections and we got more votes than Congress. They themselves are joining hands with local leaders of JCC because they know that Congress has no base in the constituency.”
Pariwesh Mishra, a political commentator, said by coming out openly against Congress and by default in favour of BJP in a bipolar contest, Jogi has killed any chances of reconciliation or his return to his parent party anytime soon.