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Judeo's resignation puts Chhattisgarh BJP on backfoot

The party had to defer the release of its poll manifesto till Wednesday as it said a lot about corruptions in 'Jogi Raj', reports Pradip Maitra.

india Updated: Nov 18, 2003 14:26 IST
Pradip Kumar Maitra
Pradip Kumar Maitra

The sudden resignation of Union Minister of State for Forests and Environment Dilip Singh Judeo from the Union Cabinet has put the state BJP on the backfoot. It was till Sunday night that the former union minister ruled out any possibility of his resignation.

A pall of gloom descended at state party headquarters — Ekatmata Parishar — on Monday. The BJP, which was supposed to release its “election manifesto” at the hands of senior party leader and union minister Rajnath Singh on Monday, had to postpone it for Wednesday as the manifesto said a lot about corruptions in 'Jogi Raj'.

The BJP state unit has been insisting that Judeo should not resign and instead face an enquiry so that it could kill time and can carry its election campaigning smoothly, saying that the video tape was a fake one and fabricated by the Congress. However, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee reportedly told Judeo that he should resign and face an enquiry, after seeing the video clipping.

A senior BJP functionary said Judeo’s resignation has established that he was guilty and the entire episode would cost the party dear in the coming elections. The rank and file in the party, which felt that the saffron brigade was near to power in the wake of series of controversies involving Jogi, was demoralised as soon as the news of resignation spread. “It was suicidal for the party on the eve of elections. The party could have avoided it,” reacted a BJP candidate.

While the happenings upset the BJP and the NCP, which have been virtually fighting a battle against Jogi’s regime, the Congress and particularly its leader, Ajit Jogi got a shot in arm.

The party did not waste even a second to cash in on the happenings. The Youth Congress, NSUI and Rajiv Brigade came out on the streets as soon as the news spread in all over the state on Sunday and staged demonstrations and protest march against the minister and sought his resignation and arrest. Now after the resignation, they are demanding for the arrest of former union minister.

Talking to Hindustan Times, another senior BJP party leader candidly admitted that such money transaction could not rule out as it is very common in mainstream politics. But by resigning, Judeo has indirectly admitted it, which would damage the party immensely. The poll prospects of the party would certainly affect, as Judeo was the star campaigner.

“We know very much that our opponents to spoil our chances in the elections engineered the entire thing. But it is now difficult to face voters by just saying that opposition succeeded in its design,” he said and pointed out that the main thrust of the state BJP was against corruption in Jogi Raj.

It was also a severe jolt for the NCP as its single point agenda against Jogi was diverted in the wake of bribery case. Judeo is a personal friend of NCP leader Vidya Charan Shukla and the possible seats adjustments in selected constituencies between the BJP and NCP was the brainchild of Judeo and Shukla.

Reacting to the development, Shukla has given a clean chit to Judeo. "In view of the track record of Judeo and his family background, he can’t be involved in such crime," he said and hoped that the former union minister would come out clean in the enquiry. Meanwhile, Judeo said that there was no harm in taking money for party work. "Even Mahatma Gandhi had taken money for the freedom movement," he said.

First Published: Nov 17, 2003 21:48 IST