Former chief minister Ajit Jogi-founded Janta Congress Chhattisgarh(J) on Wednesday released its second list of 11 candidates for the second phase of the Chhattisgarh assembly elections next month.
With this list, the party has announced candidates for 27 out of the total 90 seats in the state so far.
Of the 11 seats, one each was reserved for Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Scheduled Caste (SC) categories.
Elections to the 90-member Chhattisgarh assembly will be held in two phases – on November 7 and 17, while the counting of votes will be taken up on December 3 along with four other states.
Late Ajit Jogi’s wife and sitting MLA Renu Jogi has been fielded from Kota seat while her daughter-in-law Richa Jogi will contest from the Akaltara seat.
Renu Jogi has won the Kota seat thrice on a Congress ticket (2006-bypoll, 2008 and 2013) and once as JCC(J) candidate in 2018. She had quit Congress ahead of the last assembly elections and joined her husband’s party.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded Prabal Pratap Singh Judev, son of late BJP stalwart Dilip Singh Judev, from Kota where Congress’ nominee is Atal Shrivastav, chairman of the Chhattisgarh Tourism Board.
Richa Jogi, wife of Amit Jogi (Ajit Jogi’s only son), had unsuccessfully contested from Akaltara on JCC(J) ticket in the last elections.
JCC(J) has fielded former MLA R K Rai from Gunderdehi seat. Mr Rai had joined JCC (J) after quitting the Congress and unsuccessfully contested from Gunderdehi in 2018.
The other JCC (J) candidates on the list are Jaglal Singh Dehati (Premnagar seat), Chhatrapal Singh Kanwar (Pali-Tanakhar – ST), Akhilesh Pandey (Bilaspur), Chandni Bhardwaj (Masturi – SC), Tekchand Chandra (Jaijaipur), Baba Manharan Gurusai (Kasdol), Manoj Banjare (Raipur rural) and Jaheer Khan (Bhilai Nagar). Three women candidates feature in this list.
The JCC(J) had contested the last elections in alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the coalition had emerged as a third front, winning seven seats. But this time the JCC(J) struggling to remain politically relevant in the binary politics dominated by the Congress and BJP.
In an interview to PTI, Amit Jogi had said his party was reaching out to the Sarva Adivasi Samaj (SAS) and the Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP) for an alliance. However, the party has so far not entered into an alliance with any outfit.
The Mayawati-led BSP has entered into an alliance with the GGP.
The JCC (J) had been virtually in crisis after the death of Ajit Jogi in 2020. Ajit Jogi, who headed the Congress government in the state from 2000 to 2003, floated JCC (J) in 2016 after parting ways with the Congress and contested the 2018 assembly polls in alliance with Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). Though JCC (J) could not influence the poll outcome but succeeded in making inroads into the state politics, traditionally dominated by the BJP and Congress.
In the 2018 polls, which saw Congress returning to power after a long gap, the party won 68 of the total 90 seats, while the BJP finished a distant second at 15. The JCC(J) bagged five segments and its ally BSP 2.
The JCC(J)’s vote share was 7.6 per cent as it won five seats, hailed as the first-ever significant performance of a regional party in Chhattisgarh. However, after Ajit Jogi’s death in May 2020, Jogi junior is struggling to keep the JCC(J) flock together.
The JCC(J) lost two assembly segments – Marwahi and Khairagarh – in the bypolls held after the death of incumbent MLAs Ajit Jogi and Devvrat Singh. Two other MLAs of JCC(J) Dharmjeet Singh and Pramod Sharma – were expelled from the party, leaving the party with Renu Jogi as the lone legislator.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)