Jogi shadow looms large over Marwahi, Kota

Jogi shadow looms large over Marwahi, Kota

Ajith Jogi, who was the first chief minister of Chhattisgarh, is contesting the Assembly polls from this tribal dominated seat, hoping to get another term as the state’s chief minister.

Will Marwahi Assembly constituency still remain a Congress' fort or will it shift loyalties and sway in Ajith Jogi's favour?

On ground-zero, it’s no more Congress but the pictures of the bureaucrat-turned-politician, Ajit Jogi, and the symbol of his Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (JCC) party dominating the constituency's households.

Marwahi, however, has remained a Congress stronghold for years.

Jogi, who was the first chief minister of Chhattisgarh, is contesting the Assembly polls from this tribal dominated seat, hoping to get another term as the state’s chief minister.

Two years ago, he had quit the Congress and floated his own party.

Now, he is aiming to win Chhattisgarh armed with an alliance having Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) as members.

In the last Assembly polls, Jogi’s son Amit Jogi had won the Marwahi seat on a Congress ticket with the highest margin of votes in Chhatisgarh.

With the entry of Jogi and his new party in the poll arena, political equations seem to have changed in Marwahi and the other 38 constituencies reserved for Scheduled Tribes (STs) or Scheduled Castes (SCs) in the 91-seat Chhattisgarh State Assembly (one nominated).

“Marwahi is Jogi’s fort, not that of the Congress. He can’t be defeated from here,” a shopkeeper in the constituency told DH.

Against the JCC heavyweight, the Congress has fielded Gulab Singh Raj, Sarpanch of the Gaurella block while the BJP has fielded Archana porte, daughter of late Bhanwar Singh, who was a minister in the undivided Madhya Pradesh.

The BJP which has been in power for 15-long-years in the state under the leadership of Raman Singh is facing an anti-incumbency factor.

“Marwahi is the Congress’ fort, not that of Jogi. Both Jogi and his son won from here on the Congress' ticket. Jogi contesting elections from here, floating his own party does not make any difference to the Congress,” Gulab Singh told DH, exuding confidence in his victory.

While the farmers' distress, unemployment, migration are the broad issues from a rural perspective in this election, lack of basic amenities and infrastructure like water, hospitals, educational institutions, roads are the main issues in Marwahi.

“There is no hospital here. We have to travel 150 kilometer from here to reach Bilaspur for hospitals. The condition of roads connecting Marwahi with Bilaspur is bad. People want to see a change now,” Peetal Pendro, a Marwahi resident said.

The JCC -BSP-CPI combine is hoping to secure at least 10 seats— While the JCC is contesting from 55 of the 90 seats, BSP has settled for 33 and CPI two.

Neighbouring areas

Right next to Marwahi is Kota Assembly seat, another Congress bastion, from where Jogi’s wife and sitting MLA Renu Jogi is contesting as a JCC candidate after the Congress denied her a ticket.

About 50 kilometer away from Marwahi is Alkatara, where Jogi’s daughter-in-law Richa Jogi is contesting on a BSP ticket.

According to locals, both Kota and Alkatara are “safe” for JCC candidates as the Jogis have adequate hold on SC and ST votes in these areas.

In the last Assembly polls, Jogi’s wife had won the Kota seat with a margin of 5,000 votes .

“A total of 30 candidates were in fray from Kota seat in last elections. Jogi’s wife should win the seat this time with a higher vote margin as the total of number of candidates is just 11,” a resident of Kota said.

Electors will seal the fate of candidates in fray in the second phase of polling, to be held on November 20 for a total of 72 seats.

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