Putting all speculation to rest, the Congress gave a ticket to Amit Jogi, former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi’s son, to contest from Marwahi constituency in Bilaspur district.
Mr. Jogi’s wife, Renu – an MLA from Kota in Bilaspur – was also given a ticket from the same constituency. The Congress’ second list has named 25 candidates, of which 16 are sitting MLAs. Nine candidates – including two winners – have been replaced. One of the winners is Ajit Jogi and the other is T.S. Baba from north Chhattisgarh. All the losing candidates have been replaced.
The selection of Mr. Amit Jogi is significant. It was widely believed that the main conflict between PCC president Charandas Mahant and Mr. Ajit Jogi was over the nomination for the Marwahi constituency. The ‘official’ Congress party in Chhattisgarh, led by Mr. Mahant, was not willing to nominate Mr. Ajit Jogi. There is no love lost for Mr. Jogi in the ‘official’ Congress. While Mr. Jogi has never announced his intention to contest from Marwahi, he never made his plan public. He never said he did not wish to be Chief Minister again.
“I will do what Soniaji and Rahulji tell me to do. I am a Congressman and will remain so,” he told this correspondent several times over the last few months.
Finally, on Monday evening when Mr. Amit Jogi’s name was announced, it appeared that the warring factions within the Congress had reached some kind of a settlement. Several Congress leaders believe that Mr. Jogi, finally, is giving up his dream to become Chief Minister again.
“He may contest from a seat of his choice from Chhattisgarh in the Lok Sabha or choose to be a Governor, if the Congress comes to power in 2014,” said a senior Congress leader after the announcement.
If that is the deal struck over the last few weeks, then he definitely will not chase the top job in Chhattisgarh. However, Mr. Jogi is considered to be one of the most charismatic and ambitious leaders of central India. He might still come up with a masterstroke to project himself as Chief Minister if the Congress wins the coming poll. But it seems it is ceasefire within the Congress for the time being – which may not be good news for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.