Chhattisgarh Congress leaders surprised by ‘improved performance’

December 11th, 2008 - 5:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Raipur, Dec 11 (IANS) Although Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh are calling for an “urgent introspection” to analyse the party’ defeat in assembly elections, a majority of them are surprised by its “improved performance” despite intense factionalism.The Congress won 38 seats, four more than it had in the outgoing assembly, in the state’s 90-member legislature, results for which were announced Dec 8.

The party polled 38.63 percent of the votes, comparing to 36.71 percent in Chhattisgarh’s maiden assembly elections in November 2003.

Many party leaders are surprised by the unexpected performance.

“Although we failed to vote out the BJP, hardly any of the seniors in the Congress expected the party to improve the seat tally and vote percentage,” a senior party leader told IANS.

“Ask any Congressmen in this state. If they speak honestly, I am sure they will admit that the party put up a surprise fight and got close to simple majority mark though five factions in the party were fighting against each other to settle scores,” the source added.

The Chhattisgarh Congress has witnessed internal tussles for years. The various factions are led by party MP and former chief minister Ajit Jogi, nine-time party MP Vidya Charan Shukla, Congress treasurer Motilal Vora, leader of the opposition Mahendra Karma and former state chief Charandas Mahant.

Mahant was demoted as the “working president” by the party just before the elections to appease the influential Jogi faction.

At least 34 of the 38 newly-elected Congress legislators belong to the Jogi faction.

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