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Chhattisgarh Election 2018

Took just few hours to forge alliance with Mayawati, will project her as PM candidate: Ajit Jogi

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Mayawati

Raipur | It is an alliance that took just a few hours of discussion and the former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi wants it to continue till the 2019 general elections by projecting his ally and BSP supremo Mayawati as the prime ministerial candidate.

“Mayawatiji deserves to be the country’s prime minister. She is appropriate for the post and she has the potential,” Jogi said.

Describing the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief as a natural leader, the bureaucrat-turned-politician told PTI in an interview, “There are various things that work in her favour. She is a woman, a Dalit and also has an experience of serving as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh four times.”

Jogi, 72, is the chief ministerial candidate of the alliance. He had earlier served as Chhattisgarh’s first chief minister as a Congress leader between 2000 and 2003 after the tribal-dominated state was carved out of Madhya Pradesh.

However, the Congress could not return to power after Jogi’s tenure ended and the BJP leader Raman Singh has served as its chief minister for nearly 15 years since then. One reason many cite for Congress’ failure to come back to power in the state is infighting among various state leaders. Jogi left the Congress in 2016.

While Chhattisgarh has always seen a two-way fight between the arch rivals BJP and Congress, Jogi-Mayawati alliance has become a keenly-watched third force this time. Even Chief Minister Singh, a BJP stalwart in the state where elections for 90 assembly seats would be held in two phases on November 12 and November 20, has acknowledged that Jogi would impact the Bharatiya Janata Party as well as the Congress.

The BSP has one MLA in the outgoing assembly, while its vote share fell to 4.27 per cent in 2013. However, combining of forces between Jogi and Mayawati is being seen as having a multiplier effect, especially in terms of caste equations.

Out of 90 total seats, 29 are reserved for tribals and 10 for Scheduled Castes. In the non-reserved seats, the population of SCs is more than 10 per cent in 40 assemblies. Besides, the other backward classes constitute about 48 per cent of the state’s population.

While Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party is known to attract Dalit voters, Jogi himself is said to have a stronghold among voters from his caste base of Mahars and Satnamis.

Pitching Mayawati’s name for the prime minister, Jogi said the BSP supremo deserves the country’s top post and she is an appropriate candidate for it.

“The alliance between these two parties is a natural alliance and it will last beyond 2019 general elections,” Jogi said.

When asked how the alliance was formed between the two parties, Jogi said it took just a few hours to forge the partnership as both parties are almost on the same page ideologically.

“I met Mayawatiji and we discussed for few hours and then decided to contest the election together for the state assembly and I will be the chief ministerial candidate,” Jogi said.

Talking about the two-phase polls, Jogi said the real contest would be between the JCC-BSP alliance and the ruling BJP, while he termed the Congress a “spent force”.

The Congress has no organisation, no workers in the state and above all it is without any leader, he said.

Jogi’s daughter-in-law Richa Jogi is contesting on BSP ticket from Akaltara constituency in Janjgir-Champa district.

Till recently, the four-member Jogi family was representing three different political parties.

While Jogi and his son are in the JCC, Jogi’s wife -– Renu Jogi — was with the Congress before being denied ticket and has now switched sides to his husband’s party.

Many poll pundits feel Jogi could also play the role of a kingmaker in Chhattisgarh in case of a hung verdict, while his alignment with Mayawati could give him a noticeable say for the Lok Sabha elections next year, especially during of alignment of non-BJP forces to take on the saffron party.

Jogi is known to have some influence in Madhya Pradesh as well, besides Chhattisgarh and the two states together account for 40 Lok Sabha seats, including 15 reserved for SC/ST candidates.

In UP, where Mayawati is a strong force, there are total 80 Lok Sabha seats, including 17 reserved for SC.

Mayawati’s party also has some presence in several other states and union territories, including Delhi, Haryana, Telangana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Bihar, besides Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

The 62-year Dalit leader served as chief minister for three brief periods, first being in 1995, before she had a full five-year tenure during 2007-2012. However, her last tenure was also marked with allegations of corruption.

Besides, she has had three terms each in Lok Sabha and in Rajya Sabha.

In the last Lok Sabha polls in 2014, the BSP did not get a single seat but it was the third largest party in terms of vote share (over 4 per cent with nearly 2.3 crore voters). The party candidates came second on as many as 34 seats, while its vote share in Uttar Pradesh was nearly 20 per cent.

The BSP had won 21 Lok Sabha seats in 2009 elections. In the Uttar Pradesh assembly, the BSP had got 206 out of 403 assembly seats in 2007, but the tally took a deep plunge to 80 in 2012 and even deeper to just 19 in the 2017 state elections.

Jogi’s alliance with Mayawati is seen as significant as the Dalit leader from Uttar Pradesh was also being wooed by the Congress and other opposition parties for a broader non-BJP alliance ahead of the 2019 general elections to give a united fight to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Chhattisgarh Election 2018

Rahul Gandhi meets top Cong leaders to select next Chhattisgarh CM

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Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi | After selecting chief ministers of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, Congress president Rahul Gandhi held hectic parleys with top party leaders on Saturday to decide on the top post for Chhattisgarh. Sources said Gandhi met Chhattisgarh’s four potential chief minister candidates — T S Singh Deo, Tamradhwaj Sahu, Bhupesh Baghel and Charan Das Mahant — at his Tughlaq Lane residence and held discussions with them.

This is the third round of discussion that the Congress chief is holding before selecting the chief minister for Chhattisgarh, where the party romped home to power after 15 years with a two-thirds majority. Congress‘ central observer Mallikarjun Kharge and AICC in-charge for party affairs in Chhattisgarh P L Punia were also present at the meeting.

The sources said UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were also present at the Congress chief’s residence. They said that a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) is slated to be held at 4.00 pm in Raipur, Chhattisgarh.

However, it was not clear whether the announcement would be made in the national capital or in Raipur.
The Congress Friday named Ashok Gehlot Rajasthan’s next chief minister after several rounds of discussions lasting more than two days. In Madhya Pradesh, Congress leader Kamal Nath was made chief minister-designate on December 13.

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Chhattisgarh Election 2018

Odisha CM hopeful of solution to Mahanadi water dispute

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odisha; Biju

Bhubaneswar | Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has expressed hope that the Mahanadi water dispute with Chhattisgarh would be resolved soon after the change of government in the neighbouring state. The Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) on Tuesday also said that there could be some relief in store for the state on the matter.

Replying to a question on the Mahanadi water dispute with Chhattisgarh on Tuesday, BJD president Patnaik said, “We hope of finding a resolution soon.”

Chhattisgarh has been accused of constructing projects on the upstream of Mahanadi river and blocking the flow of water downstream to Odisha.

The Congress has all along stood by Odisha in the water dispute. The matter is now pending before a tribunal.  The Congress will form the next government in Chhattisgarh, ending the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) 15-year reign in the state.

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Chhattisgarh Election 2018

Cong ends BJP’s 15-year rule in Chhattisgarh

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Raipur | The Congress is headed for a massive victory in the Chhattisgarh Assembly polls, bagging 53 seats and leading in 15 more in the 90-member House by late Tuesday night. According to the latest Election Commission (EC) data, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which was in power in the state for 15 years, had won only 11 seats and was leading in another four. Now former CM Raman Singh meanwhile, resigns.

The Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) of former chief minister Ajit Jogi had won three seats and was leading in two. Jogi’s ally, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), had won one seat and was leading in one. In an embarrassment to the ruling party, eight ministers of the BJP lost.

Home Minister Ramsevak Paikra was defeated by the Congress’s Premsai Singh Tekam by 44,105 votes, Sports and Youth Welfare Minister Bhaiyyalal Rajwade suffered defeat at the hands of Congress’s Ambika Singhdeo, hailing from the erstwhile royal family of Koriya, at Baikunthpur by 5,339 votes.

Urban Administration Minister Amar Agrawal was defeated by the Congress’s Shailesh Pandey by 11,221 votes at Bilaspur. Public Works Department Minister Rajesh Munat suffered a loss to the Congress’s youth leader, Vikas Upadhyay, by 12,212 votes in the Raipur City West seat.

Two prominent ministers from the Bastar region, Mahesh Gagda (Bijapur) and Kedar Kashyap (Narayanpur), also tasted defeat. Kashyap was defeated by the Congress’s Chandan Kashyap by a margin of 2,647 votes and Gagda lost to the Congress’s Vikram Mandavi by 21,584 votes.

Cooperative Minister Dayaldas Baghel was defeated by the Congress’s Gurudayal Singh Banjare by 33,200 votes, while Higher Education Minister Premprakash Pandey suffered a loss against the Congress’s Devendra Yadav in the Bhilai Nagar seat.

However, BJP minister Ajay Chandrakar managed to retain his Kurud seat, defeating Independent Neelam Chandrakar by 12,317 votes. Similarly, Agriculture Minister Brijmohan Agrawal emerged the winner from Raipur City South, defeating the Congress’s Kanhaiya Agrawal by 17,496 votes.

The leader of Opposition T S Singhdeo defeated the BJP’s Anurag Singhdeo by 39,624 votes. The Congress leader had defeated Anurag in the 2013 and 2008 state polls too. Deputy Leader of Opposition, the Congress’s Kawasi Lakhma, emerged victorious from Konta, defeating the BJP’s Dhaniram Barse by 6,709 votes.

Congress MP from Durg Tamradhwaj Sahu bagged the Durg Rural seat, defeating the BJP’s Jageshwar Sahu by 27,112 votes. State Congress president Bhupesh Baghel defeated the BJP’s Motilal Sahu in the Patan seat by 27,477 votes.

Ajit Jogi won from Marwahi, defeating the BJP’s Archana Porte by 46,462 votes. His wife Renu Jogi, who recently quit the Congress and joined his husband’s party, won the Kota seat, defeating the BJP’s Kashiram Sahu by 3,026 votes.

Chief Minister Raman Singh was leading in the Rajnandgaon seat against his nearest rival, Karuna Shukla of the Congress. State Assembly Speaker Gaurishankar Agrawal was trailing.

The voting was held in two phases on November 12 and 20. After it became clear that the Congress was heading for a massive victory, Chief Minister Raman Singh submitted his resignation to the governor. Singh told reporters that he accepted the responsibility for the loss, refusing to pass the buck to the BJP’s national leadership.

“The election was solely contested on a state agenda and it was not related to Delhi. We will sit with the party workers and analyze the defeat in detail. This will not reflect on the 2019 Lok Sabha election,” he said.

In the 2013 Assembly polls, the BJP had won 49 seats, the Congress 39, while one seat each was bagged by the BSP and an Independent.

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