What went wrong in Chhattisgarh?
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What went wrong in Chhattisgarh?

However, some are supporting Judeo for the top post, saying that if Fernandes can be reinducted into the Cabinet, why can't he become CM.

india Updated: Dec 05, 2003 14:32 IST

‘If George Fernandes can be reinducted into the Union Cabinet, then why can't Dilip Singh Judeo become chief minister?’

This sentiment just about summed up the mood on a day when the BJP savoured a thumping win, and the aides of the Raja of Jashpur were galvanised into action.

The party's projection of Judeo as a martyr made the bribery scandal boomerang on Ajit Jogi.

Despite the post-videotape humiliation, Judeo plunged himself into the election process. Given a helicopter to conduct a whirlwind tour of Chhattisgarh, he addressed at least six to seven meetings every day.

Now a significant section of newly elected legislators is rooting for the Jashpur Raja. Sources said that a very senior BJP functionary was also lobbying for Judeo from Delhi.

But another section, led by Sanjay Joshi, the general secretary and in charge of Chhattisgarh, reportedly felt that Judeo should be kept away from the government till the completion of the CBI probe.

"If we nominate him as chief minister at this juncture, a wrong signal will be sent," said a senior BJP leader. "Also, the Opposition will capitalise when the Parliament session is on."

This group felt that Dr Raman Singh was the ideal choice as he had shaped the organisation in Chhattisgarh. Besides, he had sacrificed a Union minister's post for the party.

Sources in Delhi too said that the soft-spoken Raman Singh was the most likely to be the BJP's choice as Chhattisgarh chief minister.

Raman Singh seems to have become the "natural choice" for the BJP since the party had not projected any chief ministerial candidate unlike in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan where Uma Bharti and Vasundhara Raje were projected from Day One.

Raman Singh was not a candidate in the elections.

Among the others in the race for the chief ministerial chair are: Union Minister of State for Mines Ramesh Bais and national vice-president of the organisation Karuna Shukla, who is also the niece of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The sources added that Leader of the Opposition Nand Kishore Sai could have been considered but he lost to outgoing chief minister Ajit Jogi in the Marwahi constituency.

BJP chief Venkaiah Naidu is reaching Raipur on Friday for consultations with the state leaders. Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Ram Naik will also be there.

First Published: Dec 05, 2003 12:00 IST