The Congress on Wednesday expelled former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi’s son Amit Jogi from the party for six years in connection with the “fixing” of an Assembly bypoll in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), while at the same time daring Prime Minister Narendra Modi to sack Chief Minister Raman Singh on the same issue. At present, Amit is representing Marwahi constituency in the Assembly.
The Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee (CPCC) also passed a resolution urging the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) to dismiss Ajit from the party. The senior Jogi is a member of the Congress Working Committee, the highest decision-making body of the party, and therefore, the state unit cannot take action against him.
While the Jogis claimed the rivals in the party had done them in, insiders said it as a clear case of sabotage by the father-son duo. PCC chief Bhupesh Baghel and CLP leader T K Singh Deo will be in Delhi on Thursday to meet the high command.
Last week, a taped conversation allegedly featuring Ajit Jogi, Amit Jogi and Puneet Gupta, son-in-law of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, was exposed by a Delhi-based newspaper. The report revealed that the byelection of Antagarh Assembly seat held in September 2014 was allegedly rigged for a hefty amount, with the Jogis playing a role in inducing their own party candidate, Manturam Pawar to withdraw from the contest. Pawar withdrew from Antagarh bypolls at the last minute. The Congress had smelt foul play back in September 2014 and urged the Election Commission to cancel the election. The BJP won the seat. Despite being deeply embarrassed by the episode where Congressmen were exposed working against the party, the AICC sought to salvage the situation by hitting out at the BJP.
Congress communication chief Randeep Surjewala said, “The Chhattisgarh issue revolves around monetary allurement offered by BJP’s Chief Minister Raman Singh to the Congress candidate for withdrawing his candidature. Modi’s solemn promise to people was ‘zero tolerance for corruption’ and na khaoonga na khane doonga. The Congress has taken action against one of its leaders. Will Modi now show the courage of his conviction by seeking Raman Singh’s resignation? Will Modi now order a fair probe through a Supreme Court judge or a special investigation team-monitored by the Supreme Court? Therein lies the test of truth of promise made by Modi to the people.”
The PCC had served a notice on Amit and sought explanation within seven days. Baghel said, “The explanation filed was not satisfactory. The CPCC had passed the resolution to expel Amit from the Congress for six years.”