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Ajit Jogi-founded party releases fifth list of 27 candidates for second phase of Chhattisgarh polls

Raipur: The Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J), founded by former chief minister late Ajit Jogi, on Friday released its fifth list of 27 candidates for the second phase of the Chhattisgarh assembly elections next month, giving tickets to a former Mayor and a former Congress leader.

With this list, the party has announced candidates for 60 out of the total 90 seats in the state where polling will be held in two phases on November 7 and 17.

Of the 27 seats for which the party announced candidates on Friday, seven are reserved for Scheduled Tribe and two for Scheduled Caste categories.

Gorelal Barman, who on Thursday joined the JCC (J) quitting the Congress, has been fielded from Pamgarh (SC) seat, while former mayor of Raigarh Madhu Bai Kinnar, a transgender, from Raigarh seat. Barman had unsuccessfully contested on Congress ticket from Pamgarh in the 2018 assembly elections. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate Indu Banjare had won the Pamgarh seat. The Congress has fielded Sheshraj Harbans, a woman candidate, from Pamgarh, while Santosh Lahre is the BJP nominee.

Among the other candidates in the list are James Toppo (Sitapur), Parimal Yadav (Kharsia), Bhagat Harbans (Raipur West), Teejeshwar Kurre (Kurud).

So far, four Congress leaders, including Barman and sitting MLA Kismat Lal Nand, have joined the JCC (J) expressing resentment over ticket distribution by the party for the next month’s polls.

The JCC (J) had contested the last elections in alliance with Bahujan Samaj Party and emerged as a third front winning seven seats in coalition, but this time it is virtually struggling to remain politically relevant in binary politics dominated by the Congress and BJP.

This time the party has not entered into alliance with any outfit. The Mayawati-led BSP has entered into an alliance with the Gondwana Ganatantra Party (GGP).

Ajit Jogi, who headed the Congress government in the state from 2000 to 2003, floated the JCC (J) in 2016 after parting ways with the grand old party and contested the 2018 assembly polls in alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Though the JCC (J) could not influence the poll outcome, it succeeded in making inroads into the state politics, traditionally dominated by the BJP and the Congress.

In the 2018 polls, which saw Congress returning to power after a long gap, the grand old party won 68 of total 90 seats, while the BJP finished a distant second at 15. The JCC (J) bagged five segments and its ally BSP two. 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 the JCC (J) Dharmjeet Singh and Pramod Sharma – were expelled from the party, leaving the party with lone legislator Renu Jogi, wife of late Ajit Jogi, who represents Kota seat.

(Published 27 October 2023, 15:47 IST)

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