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Congress retains seat in Kota

Routing the combined might of the ruling saffron brigade, Dr Renu Jogi wife of former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi of the Congress, won the Kota assembly seat, report Sharad Rotkar and Ejaz Kaiser.

india Updated: Dec 07, 2006 14:05 IST

Jogi magic works in Kota. Routing the combined might of the ruling saffron brigade, Dr Renu Jogi wife of former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi of the Congress, Thursday, won the Kota assembly seat by a convincing 59, 465 votes. Her main rival from the Bharatiya Janata Party, Bhupendra Singh Thakur could muster about 35, 995 votes, thus losing by a margin of 23, 470 votes after all the 15 rounds of counting got over, at Bilaspur.

A total of 23 candidates were in the fray for the Kota by-poll which was necessitated due to the demise of veteran Congressman and former assembly Speaker Rajendra Prasad Shukla.

Reacting to the debacle, Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh attributed the party’s defeat to the resentment that people in Kota had against the State Government for the poor Public Distribution System. Singh also said that it was a traditional Congress stronghold.

Coincidentally, the Dr Raman Singh led BJP government completes three years rule in the State today. Just a day before, Chief Minister Raman Singh had predicted, the BJP candidate would win by a margin of 10,000 votes in Kota. Not only his predictions have gone awry, he has lost face too as the Kota poll battle was touted as a personal fight between former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi and Singh.

Meanwhile, no sooner news of Dr Renu Jogi’s win hit the streets, Congress MLAs and party workers who had gathered in strength in Bilaspur where the counting took place, exploded with joy and kicked off the victory celebrations which soon spread to other places in the State including the State capital.

When contacted, Jogi’s spokesman, Shailesh Trivedi said that Jogi is not keeping well and was resting. However, Dr Renu Jogi was surrounded by thousands of jubilant party workers in Bilaspur. Her son Amit Jogi was with her.

Jogi’s victory in the Kota by-poll has sent a strong signal to the ruling BJP that he is still in the reckoning. The win at Kota has also sent Jogi’s detractors within the Congress Party running for cover. Moreover, the former chief minister’s stakes have now increased manifold with the party High Command as he has proved that he’s a winner.

On the other hand, it’s rough sailing now for Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh, as what should have come as a third anniversary gift in the form of a victory at Kota, has now turned out to be a nightmare for him. Despite the ruling BJP pitting it’s entire state party juggernaut, which included star campaigner and actor Hema Malini, against the Congress, it failed to wrest the Kota Assembly seat.

First Published: Dec 07, 2006 14:05 IST