Chhattisgarh BJP government can fall any day: Ajit Jogi

By Sujeet Kumar, IANS,

Raipur: Chhattisgarh’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government will not complete its full term and it can fall any day under its own weight, senior Congress leader and former chief minister Ajit Jogi says, adding that several dissident BJP legislators are in touch with him.

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“The Raman Singh government will not complete its full term. Several unhappy MLAs of the BJP are in touch with me, but I need not engineer the fall of the BJP government as it is going to fall under its own weight and weaknesses,” Jogi told IANS in an interview.
The 64-year-old politician is confined to a wheelchair since April 2004 after a near fatal road accident.

“The environment (fall of BJP government) is now totally made or created and it can happen anytime and on any date. I can’t prescribe the time, but the Raman government will not last its full term,” said Jogi, who headed a Congress government in the mineral rich state till November 2003 when the party was handed a crushing defeat by the BJP.

The BJP retained power in the 2008 polls. But the party enjoys a narrow majority in the 90-member state assembly, having 48 MLAs against the 46 required for simple majority. The Congress has 39 members while the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has two. One seat is vacant.

“The day is not far for its ‘bhasakahi’ (a word of Chhattisgarhi language that means collapse or fall of something due to its own weaknesses),’ Jogi said in a recorded interview.

Asked about his meeting with alleged BJP dissidents, Jogi said, “I am in touch with most of the MLAs who are not happy. We keep meeting, they treat me as a senior.”

Jogi has always been considered a thorn in the flesh of the BJP in Chhattisgarh, and despite the party being in power since December 2003, it has always reacted in panic to any of his direct or indirect remarks to bring down the government.

Jogi had successfully engineered a split of 12 BJP MLAs in late 2001 when he was chief minister and had accommodated a few of the defected MLAs as ministers in his government.

He made another bid in 2003 but was caught on tape offering bribes to newly-elected BJP MLAs for their defection when he was voted out of power in the 2003 polls.

Jogi’s move boomeranged. The BJP government that took command Dec 8, 2003, on day one in office ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into the tape case. Even the Congress party suspended him immediately after the sensational ‘cash for MLAs’ scam broke out.

Jogi spelt out reasons to substantiate his claim that the government will not last.

“This (Raman) government seems to be falling under its own weight because of internal contradictions and also because of extreme discontent among BJP MLAs, who think this government is being run by all the corruption and money-making centered around three or four ministers and others have no share or sense of any participation in this government. I know the ministers who can’t even transfer a peon, teacher and constable on their own.”

“Secondly, there are large number of MLAs who, because of the spread of Naxalism (Maoism) are not able to even live in their villages and homes and are not able to interact with the people who have elected them and are forced by this government to either live in Jagdalpur or Raipur. One can imagine the plight of somebody who can’t meet with their own kith or kin, can’t go to their own constituency, can’t attend the last rites of people of their areas — the kind frustration and discontent they go through, these are the people who will make the government fall on its own.”

Asked how the Congress will form government in case the BJP’s reign collapses as he claims, Jogi said: “The Congress has 39 MLAs plus two of BSP. This is certain that if they (BSP MLAs) have to choose between the BJP and the Congress they will go for Congress because the Congress is a better option, ideological and relation-wise, though their leadership has to decide.”

(Sujeet Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])