New Delhi: The ongoing Chhattisgarh Assembly polls are being projected by many as just a two-way contest between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party. However, most have missed the crucial detail of the uniqueness of these polls. Ever since Chhattisgarh’s creation, the forthcoming Assembly polls will be the first time that former Chief Minister late Ajit Jogi will not be a factor during any electoral contest.
In fact, rather than just being a contest between Congress and BJP, these polls would be a litmus test for Ajit Jogi’s son, Amit Jogi. These polls will be the first time that the Jogi family scion will be taking on the might of two strong national parties on his own, fighting for Janata Chhattisgarh Congress (Jogi)’s survival.
It must be noted that the JCC (Jogi) had won 5 seats and secured 7.6 per cent of the vote in the 90-member assembly in the 2018 polls, emerging as the third largest party in the state. Both Congress and BJP are keenly eyeing this pie of vote share and it will be a tough ask for Amit to ensure that his flock and vote share stays with the party during the ongoing Assembly polls, sources said.
With one phase of Chhattisgarh polls already over, the second phase on November 17 in which 70 constituencies will vote, is being watched keenly as it is in these areas that JCC (J) commands most of its loyalty.
Earlier, the politics of JCC (J) revolved around Ajit Jogi, the first chief minister of the state, and after his demise, the task of Jogi junior is to ensure that his father's legacy is reclaimed and the party's vote share is maintained.
Jogi Junior has also understood that it will be a make-or-break election for him and his party. He has been in the field seeking votes along with his mother Renu Jogi, asking for another chance for a son. And his campaign slogan too aims to reach out to the voters at an emotional level and urges them “Bete ko ek mauka do”.
Amit Jogi, who now leads the party, has expressed confidence of retraining the vote share of the party. The idea behind securing enough seats for the JCC (J) is that apart from maintaining its political relevance, the party hopes to emerge as a kingmaker in case of a close outcome in the Assembly polls.
However, both the Congress and the BJP are trying to shift JJC (J) vote share over to themselves. In the long term, the vote share of JJC (J) is crucial for both the national parties as the absence of a third contestant makes it a two-way contest in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls where securing seats is crucial.
The BJP had suffered a massive loss in Chhattisgarh in the 2018 Assembly polls securing only 14 out of the 90 seats, while the Congress was able to secure 71 seats. The saffron unit is desperately trying to reverse the loss and secure power in the mineral-rich state in the 2023 Assembly polls. With 11 Lok Sabha seats in Chhattisgarh, the BJP hopes to do well in the 2024 general elections and improve on its 2019 tally of 9 seats in the lower house of Parliament.
The December 3 results in the state will be keenly watched as they unveil either the rise of another regional outfit and a leader in the form of Amit Jogi or the ending of the political legacy of its once illustrious founder, Ajit Jogi.