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Ajit Jogi revisited

Ajit Jogi revisited

Author: Editorial
Publication: The Free Press Journal
Date: December 10, 2003
URL: http://www.samachar.com/features/101203-editorial.html

The Congress Party has no one but itself to blame for its ignominy at the hands of Ajit Jogi. For it ought to have known better than to have chosen someone as controversial as Jogi to head the newly-created State. Jogi did not come alone. He brought with him his enormous ill reputation. Here was a rotten IAS officer who had to quit the service post haste in order to avoid an inquiry into his doings. He soon wormed his way into the parlours of the Congress Party bigwigs, becoming the party's all-India spokesman. For a man who was seeped in scandal and sleaze, it was most surprising when the Congress President, Sonia Gandhi, handpicked him for the chief ministership of the newly-created State of Chhattisgarh three years ago. He was preferred to such party veterans as Motilal Vora, Shyama Charan Shukla, and Vidya Charan Shukla.

Immediately upon becoming the Chief Minister, Jogi turned Chhattisgarh into a police State. There was no place for democratic dissent within the ruling party. And as for the Opposition, he systematically went about decimating it with means fair and foul, instigating defections and terrorising those who refused to bite the bait he dangled. Between him and his wayward son, Amit, they ran a one-and-a-half-person raj. It was as if they had imposed the emergency in the State where everyone lived on the mercy of the Jogis. The administration was politicised fully. Norms and proprieties were completely ignored as the father and son duo ran a most corrupt administration.

While the Congress Party high command gave a long rope to Jogi, he began to tie himself in knots with it. Already facing the charge of forgery of his birth certificate to claim tribal status, Jogi soon forged what he alleged was an intelligence bureau dossier against him and other Congress leaders. When he complained to the Prime Minister about it, the latter ordered an inquiry. Jogi now complained of an official witch-hunt. It was, truly, hard to please Jogi. The Jogi duo was again in high form when they laid a trap to embarrass the former raja of Jaishpur and chief BJP campaigner in Chhattisgarh, Dilip Singh Judeo, and enlisted the help of a newspaper to give their feat wide publicity. But so low was the credibility of Jogi that even when they had Judeo on camera accepting a bundle supposedly containing currency notes, they still held the wily Chief Minister and his son responsible for the dirty trick. The Congress Party instead of gaining electoral mileage from Jogi's sting operation lost further ground in Chhattisgarh and elsewhere as the election results would soon reveal.

Now cut to the post-election Jogi. He was stunned by his party's defeat. And like all tin-pot dictators was unwilling to leave office. So he devised a stratagem to break the newly-elected BJP legislature party. He offered the carrot of chief ministership to a BJP leader and money to BJP MLAs if they broke away from the party to float a separate group. The Congress MLAs, Jogi said, would support the government to be formed by the breakaway BJP group from outside. The BJP leaders, already smarting under the Jogi terror and traps, this time saw through his game and caught him on tape, offering bribes and chief ministership. Jogi and his son, Amit, were caught personally offering Rs 45 lakhs to a senior Chhattisgarh BJP functionary.

There was no way Jogi could extricate himself from the trap of his own making. The Congress leadership was so embarrassed that it promptly expelled Jogi. His one folly had taken the sting out of the entire opposition campaign against the ruling NDA. The moral of the Jogi affair: Screen people thoroughly for their moral character before appointing them to high office. Jogi was a rotten bureaucrat. He could not have made a first-rate politician. If the Congress Party learns its lessons from its current predicament, the Jogi scandal would not have gone in vain.

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