Congress factions in Chhattisgarh unite against Jogi

December 16th, 2008 - 2:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia GandhiRaipur, Dec 16 (IANS) The going seems to have become tough for senior Congress leader in Chhattisgarh and former chief minister Ajit Jogi. In a sudden development, four different factions of the party have joined hands to stop Jogi becoming leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP), top sources said.The 38-member CLP’s meeting here Dec 13 was a turbulent one. Jogi had staked his claim to becoming CLP leader amid charges traded between the various factions. Jogi’s supporters virtually came to blows with a rival faction outside the meet venue.

The CLP leader will also be the leader of the opposition.

The CLP meet unanimously passed a one-line proposal authorising party president Sonia Gandhi to elect the leader. The Jogi faction claimed that at least 30 MLAs had submitted a proposal to party observers and Congress general secretaries - B.K. Hariprasad and Janardhan Dwivedi - asking them to make Jogi the CLP leader.

With the battle for the CLP leader now shifting to Delhi, the four factions - led by nine-time MP Vidya Charan Shukla, Congress treasurer Motilal Vora, tribal leader Mahendra Karma and working president Charandas Mahant - have joined hands to keep Jogi in check.

Party insiders claim the four factions together have the support of just 10 MLAs. They have begun hectic lobbying in Delhi to prevent Jogi, a 62-year bureaucrat-turned-politician, from becoming CLP leader.

“The Congress should look for new faces in the state rather than Jogi. We are trying to present some strong evidences before the central leadership on how Jogi played a role to ensure the defeat of party candidates from his rival camps in the assembly polls,” a top leader of the anti-Jogi camp told IANS requesting anonymity.

Jogi was the star campaigner of the party in the Nov 14 and Nov 20 polls. The party failed to wrest power from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that bagged 50 seats in the 90-member house.

Though a majority of Jogi’s loyalists won the elections, his long-time rival and leader of the opposition Mahendra Karma lost his home seat, Dantewada, and deputy leader of the opposition Bhupesh Baghel lost from Patan.

Baghel had developed strained relationship with Jogi in the run up to the polls after he questioned Jogi’s son Amit Jogi’s increased role in the Congress and asked junior Jogi to reveal what status he enjoyed in the party.

Party state chief Dhanendra Sahu, who belongs to the rival Shukla camp, also lost elections in his home turf, Abhanpur seat - which some leaders have blamed on an “insider’s hand”.

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