Ajit Jogi, first CM of Chhattisgarh, passes away at 74
Ajit Jogi, the first Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, breathed his last on Friday at the age of 74, his son Amit confirmed. He was admitted to a private hospital in Raipur on May 9 after suffering a cardiac arrest. His situation remained critical after that. Reports said he was in a comatose state until his death. Here are more details.
A bureaucrat-turned politician, Jogi remained the first CM of Chhattisgarh between November 2000 and November 2003, when the state was carved out of Madhya Pradesh. He was associated with Congress. In 2016, he quit Congress after he got embroiled in a controversy concerning a by-election. His son Amit's name was dragged too. Later, Jogi founded the Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J).
The by-election which soured Jogi's ties with Congress happened in 2014. The party was left embarrassed after leaked audio clips indicated that the former CM allegedly got his own party member to quit the race, paving the path for BJP's win from Antagarh (Reserved) seat. In 2016, Jogi floated his own party in Thathapur village, the native place of his rival ex-CM Raman Singh.
As he announced the party, Jogi said he would win the 2018 state assembly polls and make Chhattisgarh the first tax-free state. "If my party comes to power, it will exempt Rs. 8,000 crore sales tax besides providing Rs. 8,000 crore to the farmers and Rs. 200 per day to the laborers," he had said. Notably, Congress won the 2018 elections.
In 2014 general elections, Jogi was caught in another controversy after BJP alleged that he fielded 11 namesakes of their candidate from Mahasamund seat to get an edge. While the saffron party fielded Chandu Lal Sahu, there were 11 candidates of the same name who fought from the same seat. BJP's candidate won and Jogi was accused of hatching a plan to confuse voters.
Confirming the news of his demise, Amit said the 20-year-old state lost its father today. "Not only me, but the entire state has lost a father today," he wrote. "Ajit Jogi left his family of 2.5 crore people. I am speechless during this hour of grief. May his soul find peace. The last rites will be performed at his birthplace Gaurella tomorrow," he added.