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Jogi?s way of working took him down

What went wrong with the Ajit Jogi government despite the unprecedented development works it had carried out during a three-year stint?

india Updated: Dec 05, 2003 17:47 IST

What went wrong with the Ajit Jogi government despite the unprecedented development works it had carried out during a three-year stint?

A plausible answer is his style of functioning. Even some of his supporters admit that despite providing good roads, surplus power and creating a reasonably decent industrial atmosphere, Jogi failed to win the hearts of voters.

Opponents, especially the BJP, said there was a strong wave against Jogi and his son Amit.

"What would one prefer: self-esteem or development?" asks Shailesh Singh, who runs an NGO. He isn't the only one. Even the poor rejected development and voted for self-esteem, aggressively projected by the BJP.

The Jogi government scrapped the MLA fund. Result: all MLAs had to depend on him for funds.

Besides, he did away with the revenue commissionerate system and demolished the concept of checks and balances by giving absolute power to collectors. Result: he strengthened the bureaucracy and marginalised the rights of the people's representatives.

Poll pundits said the bureaucrat-turned-politician had overplayed his hand this time. His strategy to project himself as an innocent tribal and a son of the soil got overshadowed by his manipulative personality.

This dubious trait was first seen when, after taking over the reins, he ensured that all the power flowed from his hand. Senior ministers could not transfer even a clerk or grant funds for their constituencies without his approval.

With Jogi marginalising opponents through police terror or bureaucratic pressure — mainly through district collectors — even the people came to resent his style of functioning.

Jogi sidelined established party leaders and ensured that leaders like Motilal Vora and Shyama Charan Shukla did not figure in the party's newspaper ads and banners. Neither state nor national leaders were utilised for the Congress campaign.

First Published: Dec 05, 2003 01:55 IST