Former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi.
Former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi.

BJP’s march can be stopped in 2019 if regional leaders join hands: Ajit Jogi

Ajit Jogi has said he is ready to be part of the third front in 2019 Lok Sabha elections if it proves to be successful

Hyderabad: Former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi, a one-time Congressman who went on to found the Chhattisgarh Janata Congress (CJC), said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) can be stopped in 2019 Lok Sabha elections if strong regional leaders come together.

“The BJP’s juggernaut will be stopped. Even in the last election, parties headed by strong state-level leaders like Mamata Banerjee, Naveen Patnaik and the late Jayalalithaa were able to win most of the seats in their states. With such leaders, the BJP can be defeated," said Jogi, who was expelled from the Congress in 2016 for alleged anti-party activities.

Jogi, who was in Hyderabad on Sunday to attend a get-together of retired Indian Police Service officers from his batch of 1968, praised Telangana chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s (KCR) efforts to form a third front.

Jogi told reporters he is even ready to be part of it, if it proves to be successful.

“It is not a third front, but federalism. Fact is that the Congress has also been reduced to a regional player, while the BJP has emerged with a national identity, and that has to be stopped because most of us don’t agree with its ideology," he said.

“To stop the BJP, the Congress will be needed as well, but in a few places. It may have a role to play," said Jogi, who is confident of returning to power in Chhattisgarh in assembly elections due in November. The CJC leader will be contesting against BJP chief minister Raman Singh.

“The Congress will suffer a big loss (in Chhattisgarh). About two-thirds of the party was mine and I have ex-members of legislative assembly (MLAs) from both the national parties with me. Even hardcore BJP and RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) workers have joined me. I did not take sitting MLAs with me deliberately because I did not want to carry baggage," said Jogi.

The CJC, said Jogi, will be banking on anti-incumbency to defeat the BJP. The former bureaucrat stressed on the need for a strong regional force to emerge in Chhattisgarh.

“The Congress has also failed as an opposition and the common man thinks it is hand-in-glove with the BJP. Only a regional party can take into account the feelings of the region," Jogi added.

To illustrate his point, Jogi said that because of the national Polavaram irrigation project in Andhra Pradesh, about 40 villages, mainly in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh are going to be submerged. Had Chhattisgarh been ruled by a strong regional party, it would have limited the extent of submergence.

“But the benefit of Polavaram is only going to Andhra Pradesh," he added.

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