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Resentment brews in Ch'garh Cong over ticket distribution

State minister Vidhan Mishra, who was denied a ticket, has threatened to expose son of CM Ajit Jogi.

india Updated: Nov 10, 2003 20:21 IST

The intense rebellion within the Congress party in Chhattisgarh following the announcement of the first list of candidates, has shaken the Congress leadership. Resentment is brewing among the among the rank and file of the Congress, particularly those who have been left out of the electoral race.

Minister of State for Industries, Vidhan Mishra, who was denied a ticket from Dharsiva, has threatened to expose Amit Jogi, the son of Chief Minister Ajit Jogi. "I am going to meet the Governor, KM Seth, soon and submit my resignation. While submitting my resignation, I will hand over to him a comprehensive memorandum, enlisting the misdeeds of Amit," he announced.

According to him, Amit played a crucial role in distribution of Congress tickets in Chhattisgarh. "I was told by one of my well-wishers to meet Amit and ensure the clearance of my ticket from Dharsiva. However, I straightway rejected the offer," he said and alleged that Amit is controlling the State organisation as well as the Government through proxy.

Answering a question the rebel Congress leader made it clear that he has several options. "I will decide my future line of action only after submitting my resignation," he said and expressed strong dissatisfaction over the distribution of tickets.

"The Congress will not even get 25 seats in the forthcoming election and the party candidate, who was nominated from Dharsiva in place of me Chhaya Verma - will not even be able to save her deposit," he asserted.

Mishra, who was in Delhi till last night, could not meet party chief Sonia Gandhi. He instead met senior party leader RK Dhawan and apprised him about the development and his decision to resign from the ministry.

In Dhamtari, rebel Congressmen enforced a `Dhamtari Bandh' on Saturday in protest against the denial of ticket to sitting legislator, Harshad Mehta. Mehta supporters also staged a demonstration at Mana airport here this morning when Jogi arrived by a private plane from Jagdalpur. They shouted slogans against the party nominee from Dhamtari, Gurumukh Singh Hora; and insisted that Mehta be retained. They also asked why Mehta, an active MLA from the region was, denied a ticket.

Mehta asserted that the Congress candidates from Dhamtari, Gurumukh Singh Hora and the party nominee from neighbouring Kurud, Deepa Sahu, would be defeated in the coming elections.
Similarly, Rani Ratnamala Devi of Chandrapur, who had defected to the ruling party, along with 12 BJP legislators, said that the party betrayed her by denying her a ticket. "Jogi repeatedly told me that I would be given the party ticket.

He told me last week to begin the campaign in the constituency and I started electioneering accordingly. But instead of selecting me, Jogi nominated one Rashmi Baghel, an outsider. I would come to Raipur within next couple of days just to ask Jogi why was I denied a ticket," she said and informed that she would chalk out a future line of action after discussions with her supporters.

In Bilaspur, the home district of Jogi, the situation is more alarming. A large number of Congressmen today resigned from the primary membership of the party and joined the NCP in protest against distribution of tickets in several places in the district, particularly Bilaspur, Sipat, Tanakhar, Akaltara and Pamgarh.

Former minister and an influential Congress leader, BR Yadav also declared that he would join the NCP in protest against the nomination of Anil Tah as Congress candidate from Bilaspur. Tah had contested Assembly elections from Bilaspur in 1998 as an Independent. And it was because of Tah, a close associate of Jogi, that the then official party candidate, KK Yadav, son of BR Yadav, was defeated in the elections.

First Published: Nov 10, 2003 16:49 IST