A decision to this effect in Raipur at a joint strategy meeting of Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (JCC) and its alliance partners the BSP of Mayawati and the CPI, which has considerable influence in Nazal-hit region in the state.
Mr Ajit Jogi’s decision finally not to contest has changed the game at the ground level in some key constituencies. Earlier, JCC chief had announced that he would fight the Chief Minister Raman Singh in his bastion Rajnandgaon.
For sometime, even Jogi’s daughter in law Richa Jogi camped at Rajnandgaon and campaigned for her father in law for a few weeks.
“Our focus is clear…The aim is to strengthen the party campaign and form the government in Chhattisgarh.
Therefore, it has been decided that Ajit Jogi will concentrate on the whole state and will campaign for all the candidates of JCC as well as other alliance partners,” a source said.
The idea to allow Mr Ajit Jogi greater flexibility for campaign instead to focus on one seat for personal election was mooted at the meeting by a senior BSP leader in the state.
“The idea was proposed and then deliberated. Things were discussed in details and finally we opt that Mr Ajit Jogi will focus on campaign,” a JCC source said.
The former Chief Minister Mr Ajit Jogi, who parted ways from Congress in 2016 to float JCC, will kick-start his campaign in the Bastar region from Saturday, October 20. The five day-campaign in a region where Congress show was better in 2013 will continue till October 24.
As part of the alliance, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) will contest 33 seats, two seats have been given to CPI and JCC will fight on 55 seats.
According to Congress sources in Rajnandgaon, “It was all drama. Jogi was never serious about fighting Raman Singh. In fact, he floated JCC only to help the BJP. Moreover, he did not get much foot soldiers at Rajnandgaon to organise a contest”.
Meanwhile, sources said with the decision that Ajit Jogi will not contest, now the stage is set for his son Amit Jogi to seek re-election from Marwahi constituency. Amit Jogi’s wife Richa Jogi is likely to contest from Akaltara assembly constituency, sources said.
Chunnilal Sahu of Congress had defeated his nearest BJP rival Dinesh Singh in Akaltara in 2013 while in 2008 the seat was won by Saurabh Singh of BSP.
“JCC hopes the BSP votes will get transferred and thus help Richa Jogi make it to the assembly,” the source added