Former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Ajit Jogi today made a formal announcement to float a new political outfit, days after he raised a banner of revolt against his parent party accusing it of working as the "B team" of BJP in the state.
The announcement marks the culmination of the long-drawn factionalism within the Chhatisgarh party unit led by Bhupesh Baghel.
While addressing a huge gathering at his son Amit Jogi's constituency at Marwahi in Bilaspur district, Jogi released a "Kotmi Declaration" in which he claimed to form his government with full majority in 2018 Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh.
"I am independent now...I have the blessings of people and well wishers..," Jogi told the gathering comprising around 10,000 people at Kotmi village in the area.
Many of his supporters were spotted wearing white Gandhian caps with slogans like "I am Jogi" and "Jai Jogi". Besides, the posters with slogans like "Abki Baar, Jogi Sarkar" were also raised at the venue.
On June 2, Jogi, who has been in sulk for long, had hinted at formation of his political party and asked his supporters and media to wait till June 6 for a formal announcement.
As per today's declaration, "The day marks the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Chhattisgarh from Kotmi village. Now people of Chhattisgarh will write their destiny by themselves. Now, the decisions of Chhattisgarh will be taken in Chhattisgarh only.
"With the blessings of people of Marwahi and well-wishers, it has been decided to form a new party. The new party will be Chhattisgarh's own party," stated the declaration.
The declaration assured to "make farmers and labourers free from poverty, the youth free of unemployment, women free of violence, businessmen free of taxes, common man free of corruption".
It also promised making the society free of inflation and of "administrative terrorism and alls kind of social evils".
"The target has been set to form a government with the full majority in Chhattisgarh in 2018 Assembly elections. Besides, it has been also decided to send at least 10 Members of Parliament from Chhattisgarh to Delhi, who will always keep the interest of Chhattisgarh at the top.
"To make 'Raman-free Chhattisgarh' under the leadership of Ajit Jogi, a 'no confidence' motion proposal will be brought against the ruling BJP in every village and town of the State. Subsequently, the no confidence motion passed by people of the State will be handed over to President of India on November 1, 2016- the state's Foundation Day," it stated.
Jogi said the new party's name and symbol will be decided after taking consent from the people only.
Since Jogi raised the banner of revolt, the Congress high-command has adopted a 'wait and watch' approach.
Jogi is a member of the Congress Working Committee.
On the occasion, people were given a form in which options were provided to decide the new party's name and symbol.
The options mentioned in the form are: Chhattisgarh Vikas Congress, Chhattisgarh Lok Party, Chhattisgarh Vikas Party, Chhattisgarh Congress, Chhattisgarh Jan Congress, Chhattisgarh Swaraj Party, Chhattisgarh Rashtriya Samiti and Chhattisgarh Apna Dal.
Jogi was accompanied by his wife Renu, who is the Congress MLA from Kota, son Amit, Gundardehi MLA Rajendra Kumar Rai, Bilha MLA Siyaram Kaushik and former legislators and Congress leaders Vidhan Mishra and Dharamjeet Singh, on the stage.
In January, the state Congress unit had expelled Amit Jogi from the party for a period of six years after some audio tapes purportedly revealed that the bypoll held for Antagarh Assembly seat in 2014 was fixed. The seat went to BJP as the Congress candidate had pulled out of the race apparently over financial inducements.
The state Congress had also sought termination of the Jogi senior from the party.