Amit Jogi, expelled Congress MLA from Marwahi and son of former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi, spoke to The Sunday Guardian about his expulsion as well as the state Congress leaders’ attempt to remove the pro-poor leadership from the party. Excerpts.
Q: You have said that you will not bow down to “feudal” Congress leaders who are against you and your family. Who are these leaders?
A: Since I have decided to appeal (against the expulsion) before the party high command, it will not be proper for me to take names. It is anyway obvious who they are. My family has always fought for the state’s tribals, Dalits and poor. Some people don’t like this. Over the past 12 years, there has been a conspiracy to finish the Dalit, tribal and the pro-poor leadership from the party in Chhattisgarh. My expulsion is part of that larger conspiracy.
Q: Do you think that the Congress showed unnecessary urgency in expelling you from the party?
A: The Pradesh Congress Committee president certainly did. What one witnessed in Raipur was nothing short of a kangaroo court. Can 40 unelected party officials claim to speak for the state’s one million Congress workers? Secondly, even the Indian Express doesn’t vouch for the authenticity of the tapes, using the words “purported conversations” 27 times in its article. The video on its website further says: “All conversations purported”. The decision to expel me without getting the charges against me investigated or proven, is one-sided, vindictive and against the principles of natural justice. If I was guilty, would I have offered to undergo a narco test, filed a criminal complaint in the cyber cell and an affidavit in court stating that the tapes are doctored, besides suing the Indian Express for defamation? Those who have taken action against me don’t have the guts to even give an affidavit saying that the tapes are genuine or that the voice on it is mine. I strongly believe everything was pre-scripted.
Q: What political options you and your family are looking at, considering Chhattisgarh Congress has suggested the expulsion of Ajit Jogi from the party?
A: We have full faith in the party high command.
Q: Do you think that veteran Congress leaders in the country are being ignored by Rahul Gandhi?
A: I am too junior to comment on this.
Q: In Bihar (Jagannath Mishra), Chhattisgarh (V.C. Shukla), West Bengal (Pranab Mukherjee) and Madhya Pradesh (Uma Bharti), all these leaders floated their own political front at one time or the other, but gradually returned to their parent party. Do you believe that a local regional party has a future in Chhattisgarh?
A: For the record, Chhattisgarh is the only state with a regional language/dialect that hasn’t had a regional party as part of its government to date. (Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are the only two other states without regional parties). I am not saying that my family or I would form a regional outfit. But it would be foolish to deny that this is an idea whose time hasn’t come.