While the Chhattisgarh elections offer a key opportunity for the country to gauge where the BJP and Congress stand versus each other at the moment, months ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, many are highlighting that it may not be Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi who determine the eventual outcome, but Ajit Jogi.
The former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister has the backing of BSP supremo Mayawati, whose vote-getting ability is famously said to be transferable', and the questions being asked around him are very similar to those that were being asked about Kumaraswamy ahead of the Karnataka elections -- particularly, 'Will he be the kingmaker?'
Jan Ki Baat has surveyed over 1 lakh respondents in the state's 90 constituencies and got a sense of where they stand on Ajit Jogi.
The first question is whether the third face in the state, after the BJP and Congress, will benefit either of the two national parties?
The Ajit Jogi factor: Will it benefit the Congress or the BJP?
And the second question is the Kumaraswamy parallel: Will he play Kingmaker?
Will Ajit Jogi play kingmaker in Chhattisgarh?
Clearly, there appears to be sufficient evidence to suggest that Jogi may become a key player come results day. However, he is more than likely to be thinking along the same line as Kumaraswamy was thinking when he was asked the same Kingmaker question. Kumaraswamy's response then was that he wouldn't be Kingmaker, he would be the King -- something that came true as the Congress extended their support to the JD(S) in an effort to form a government, when it turned out that no single party had managed enough seats to form a government on its own.
Jogi’s JCC contested from 55 seats and their coalition party BSP from 35 out of 90 Assembly seats in the State. Although in the elections prior to these, the BSP had placed their candidates in all 90 seats, and won over 5.5 lakh votes, but won only one seat in the state.
Back in October, the ex-Congress leader, Jogi, asserted that his fight is with the BJP and that Congress as no hold in the State, “The Congress neither has any face nor any organisation in the state. It has no leader and has become useless," he said.
In September, the Congress in Chhattisgarh had hit out at Mayawati-led BSP for allying with former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi's party for the upcoming state assembly election and claimed the pre-poll tie-up has the support of the ruling BJP.