Jogi playing spoilsport, says Chhattisgarh Congress chief

May 15th, 2008 - 11:40 am ICT by admin  

By Sujeet Kumar
Raipur, May 15 (IANS) Assembly polls are due in Chhattisgarh in November, but state Congress chief Charandas Mahant says he is getting no support from influential party colleague Ajit Jogi in getting into election mode. Stepping up the attack on former chief minister Jogi, Mahant said: “He does not want me as state Congress president.”

“Congress workers are doing their best to stage a comeback in the November polls, but my efforts for better poll prospects of the party are being hampered as Jogi is not supporting me,” Mahant told IANS in an interview.

Mahant has so far failed to even form the state executive committee since he was appointed Chhattisgarh Congress chief in early 2006. But he said: “It’s all because Jogi is not supporting me.”

“If he (Jogi) gives the names of his supporters to be absorbed in the working committee, I can form the committee within a day. But he is deliberately delaying handing over his supporters’ names to the party’s national leadership to show that I am unable to even form the working committee,” said Mahant.

Incidentally, Jogi was the state’s first chief minister in November 2000 when it was carved out of Madhya Pradesh.

“I was appointed working president in January 2004 and a full-fledged president in March 2006. I have formed block and district committees but am unable to form a state executive committee and all due to Jogi who has been confronting the state party organisation,” he said.

“Jogi believes in a different kind of politics because he served in the Indian Administrative Service in undivided Madhya Pradesh for years before coming to politics. He fails to tune up with people who have adopted politics naturally.”

Claiming that the Congress has a fair chance of coming back to power in the mineral-rich state, currently ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party, Mahant said he would not contest the assembly polls so as to spare enough time to campaign for his party candidates.

“I am strongly in favour of top state level leaders staying away from contesting the polls in Chhattisgarh. I suggest the district presidents also not seek the party ticket but work for party candidates to ensure their victory by mobilising support,” he said.

But commenting on reports that Jogi wants to contest two assembly seats, Mahant said: “He is a big leader. He does not need the ticket from me. He can manage it from the central leadership.”

Thanking the party national leadership for keeping him as state president since January 2004, Mahant said: “You can describe it purely (as) my success and the high command’s faith in my leadership because the party has reshuffled nine (All India Congress Committee) general secretaries in charge of Chhattisgarh since the state came into existence in November 2000.”

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