Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) supremo Ajit Jogi, in an exclusive interview with DH's K N Kishore, speaks about how a regional party is what Chhattisgarh needs and how different things are from when he became the state's first chief minister.
Where will we see Ajit Jogi after the elections are over?
The alliance of the JCC (J), BSP and CPI will form the government in the state. I see myself as an integral part of the government as the alliance has already chosen me as the chief ministerial candidate.
BJP being in power in the state has certain advantages, besides they are flush with money. The only factor in favour of the others is the anti-incumbency. The people want a change and we, the alliance, are providing them with an alternative for the wave of change.
The Congress is facing a crisis of sorts, where they are faceless and lack a leader. There are several clusters to lead the party, for which several member teams have been constituted. The Congress has a history where several sitting members nominated for polls have always lost. In the 2013 elections, 27 out of 35 members had lost the polls. The number will be smaller this time.
Why did you split with the Congress two years ago?
I left the party without any bitterness. There was a realisation that the two national parties at the helm of affairs in the state have not been fulfilling regional aspirations.
The state has rich natural resources, from diamond to aluminium. It has surplus electricity.
Despite the fertile land and rich forest produce, people are still poor. 50% of the people are below poverty line. So, only regional party can do justice to the people.
What is JCC’s ideology and is it going to help the state?
The JCC was founded on the base of regional aspirations. The key idea is to bridge the gap between rich and poor in the state through integrated economical activities and increasing social security, so that the yawning gap is brought down. All communication strategies have been adopted to spread it to the masses.
What do you think about Narendra Modi as prime minister?
Modi started well, but in time became a big disappointment. There is hardly any section of the country that will say it is satisfied. Neither has he delivered on any promises.
And on Dr Raman Singh as CM?
Raman Singh is a very lucky person. Irrespective of non-performance in all sectors, due to the prevailing corruption he has survived. His luck is unlikely to work this time, as people have seen him thrice.
What do you think of state's Maoist issue?
The present government has not been dealing with the issue with seriousness. It is pushing in more and more paramilitary forces. It is leading to more bloodshed while there is a need is to bridge the socio-economic gap in the region. A political initiative is necessary to start a dialogue.
How is Ajit Jogi different from when he was CM the first time?
As the first chief minister of the state, I had the privilege to start from zero. The first Assembly session was held in a tent. But the transformation was slow — things did not move as per the dream and desire.
My accident has affected my regular life, but in active politics, I am working as any normal person would. The recent illness has affected me but the blessings of the people have brought me back to normal life.