"Jogi ceases to be a Congress Working Committee member and Chairman of AICC's tribal cell after his announcement of floating a new party. He has saved us the trouble of expelling him," party General Secretary B K Hariprasad told reporters here.

"It is a good riddance that he has left," he said. Still smarting from debacles in Assembly polls in four states, Congress received a setback with two CWC members—Ajit Jogi and Gurudas Kamat--quitting the party yesterday.

While Jogi, a former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister, formally announced he would launch a new political outfit, Kamat said he was quitting politics altogether.
    
Hariprasad said that the party elevated Jogi from "DM to CM", and that he would not be able to harm it. "A man who was made a Chief Minister from the post of District Magistrate by Congress, cannot undermine it," Hariprasad said.
     
He accused Jogi, who became the first Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh when the state was carved out of Madhya Pradesh in 2000, of resorting to "politicking of a very negative kind" despite the party giving him "a very long rope" to "reform".

He said Jogi quit the party after his demand for a Rajya Sabha nomination was ignored. Coming down hard on the expelled leader, Hariprasad dubbed Jogi as "de facto Chief Minister of Chhattigarh", stating that he consistently sabotaged the prospects of Congress to help BJP's Raman Singh retain power since 2003.

"Congress is not that weak in Chhattisgarh. Despite Jogi's negative performance, the party lost the last elections by just 0.77 per cent of the vote," Hariprasad said underlining the close tussle between the party and BJP in the tribal state.
    
Asked whether Jogi may join the saffron party, he said, "He (Jogi) is de facto Chief Minister there so it is immaterial whether he joins BJP or not".
    
Incidentally, Jogi had accused the state Congress ofworking as the "B Team" of BJP. Jogi had been sulking for quite some time following the expulsion of his son Amit after some audio tapes purportedly indicated his involvement in fixing a by-poll in Chhattisgarh in favour of BJP. His wife, Renu Jogi, is a Congress MLA from Kota.
    
Hariprasad maintained that the party would not take any action against the MLAs, including Renu Jogi, who had participated in Jogi's meeting yesterday.
     
He said he would be visiting Chhattisgarh within a week to talk to state party leaders in the wake of Jogi's exit from the party.
     
"History is witness to the fact that many may have quit Congress but they have not been able to finish us," he said.

 

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