Chhattisgarh Tapes: Congress expels MLA Amit Jogi for six years

Chhattisgarh Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel said that the party has acted, now it is Bharatiya Janata Party's turn to act against the "murder of democracy in Antagarh.

Written by Dipankar Ghose | Raipur | Updated: January 12, 2016 3:33 am
New Delhi: File photo of Congress leader Amit Jogi whom the party's Chhattisgarh unit on Wednesday issued a show-cause notice after allegations of horse trading in the Antagarh (ST) bypoll in September 2014. PTI Photo (PTI12_30_2015_000198B) Congress MLA Amit Jogi, son of former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi, was suspended for six years from the party. (Source: PTI Photo)

The Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) on Wednesday expelled Marwahi MLA Amit Jogi for six years, and passed a resolution seeking similar action against his father, former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi.

The action came a week after The Indian Express report on purported audio tapes which suggest that financial inducements could have been offered to make the Congress candidate pull out of the 2014 Antagarh bypoll, ensuring a walkover for the BJP candidate.

Announcing the decision after a party meeting today, PCC chief Bhupesh Baghel said in Raipur: “In the matter of the Antagarh bypoll, the PCC has passed a notice of condemnation… (and) has sent a recommendation to the AICC, asking that he (Ajit Jogi) be expelled from the party for six years. Marwahi MLA Amit Jogi has been expelled from the PCC for a similar period of six years.”

Sources said Baghel and CLP leader T S Singhdeo, who caught an evening flight to Delhi, would approach the central disciplinary committee headed by A K Antony on Thursday. They are also expected to meet party chief Sonia Gandhi.

Listen: The Chhattisgarh Tapes : Did Congress & BJP ‘Fix’ bypoll?

Speaking to The Indian Express after his arrival in the national capital, Baghel said: “We are meeting Soniaji tomorrow morning. We will submit our report about the fraud Ajit Jogi committed during Antagarh bypoll. We want Ajit Jogi’s expulsion. He has systematically damaged the Congress in Chhattisgarh. We are absolutely certain that the party will expel him.”

Party sources said action against Ajit Jogi appears certain and imminent, as the state unit is insisting on it. According to these sources, the former chief minister could be removed from the Congress Working Committee, but the state unit wants nothing less than termination of his primary membership.

“The PCC’s recommendation will go to Sonia and then the disciplinary committee, which will decide the action. However, if both the PCC president and Leader of Opposition want it, it will happen. So it’s almost certain,” said a senior CWC leader.

”There are only two options before the party. Either succumb before Jogi and hand over Chhattisgarh to him, or expel him from the party. There cannot be any other solution. We have experimented handing over the reins to Jogi, and it did not work,” said another top party leader.

Earlier in the day, Baghel said the Jogis’ action had brought the party disrepute and “was a murder of democratic process”. “Politics is perception, and among the common people, it is known that the voices (on the tapes) are indeed theirs,” he said.

As reported earlier, The Indian Express has received tapes of several phone conversations purportedly between Ajit Jogi, Amit Jogi and Raman Singh’s son-in-law Puneet Gupta; between Congress candidate Manturam Pawar (who withdrew from the bypoll) and former Jogi loyalist Firoz Siddiqui; a third between Pawar, who is now with the BJP, and Siddiqui; between Siddiqui and another Jogi loyalist Ameen Memon; and between Amit Jogi and Siddiqui.

Most of these purported conversations are in the run-up to voting day, in the last week of August 2014. The purported conversations suggest that a deal was sought to be struck to make Pawar, then a Jogi loyalist, withdraw his candidature for the Antagarh (ST-reserved) seat in Kanker district which voted on September 13, 2014. There are references to the chief minister’s house repeatedly in the purported conversations.

The Congress today dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to sack Chief Minister Raman Singh. “The Congress has taken action… Now it is for ‘Mr Na Khaunga, Na Khane Dhoonga’ to act against his chief minister whose family member was involved… The chief minister is directly involved, and my charge is that (it was) at the direction of the PMO, because Modi did not want to lose that election,” said B K Hariprasad, Congress general secretary in charge of Chhattisgarh.

Meanwhile, Amit Jogi said he would appeal to the party high command against the action. “This decision is unilateral and is against the poor, backward classes and minorities… If you look at the state of Chhattisgarh, you will see that the Congress always has support among the backward and the poor because of the work we do. Yet, over the last 12 years, there has been a systematic wipeout of all such leadership in the state, and this is an example of that,” he said.

“Under our party’s constitution, there is a court of appeal, and this decision is not final. I want to tell our supporters that I intend to fight my case with the Congress high command, and this is not the first time such allegations have come up… I have faith in the Congress national leadership, in Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, that the right thing will be done,” he said.

He also claimed that “till today”, nobody has said “that the tapes are genuine”. “Did the PCC investigate and find that the audio tapes were genuine? If they did, or Bhupesh Baghel did, they should come out and say so,” he said.

Today’s decision brought out the divide within the PCC, as the Baghel camp celebrated the action, while the Jogi camp protested.

With inputs from Dipankar Ghose

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  1. G
    Jan 6, 2016 at 10:00 am
    Just six years....shame on Congress
    1. J
      J G
      Jan 6, 2016 at 10:19 pm
      A good job by the congress must clear party of such persons and see results
      1. j
        Jan 6, 2016 at 5:01 pm
        first of all CONgress is not100 years old that old party was desolved by nijilgppa to janta party in 1969 the party owned by sidira gundi is the party inherited by sonia gundi is the pparty earlier known as congress(I) the original party had different symbol of two bulls plawing the congress(I) had a symbol of cow and a claf , then it was changed to hand so this party is originally started by indira gundi , now second point is the party never has democracy in the party or wants democracy in the country , people who can kleep their eyes open and mind clear of bias then , they will know the president ship of this party is of i family only sitaram kesri was different president because thisCONgress party wanted his dalit label to be in power this gundi family wanted him to be puppet just like they used manmohan sing as their prime minister face if INDIA WANTS TO DEVELOP INDIA SHOULD BE conGRESS MUKTA INDIA
        1. K
          Jan 6, 2016 at 1:25 pm
          Its high time that these scamgressi slaves of looterri mattaji sonniya like land maffios virbhadra sink,haris rawwat,virbhadra sink,gahhlot.hoodda etc. immediately in tihhar along with their lootgurru robber uncle for their barbaric pering which has resulted in ultimate devastation of economy of our country....
          1. K
            Jan 7, 2016 at 6:38 am
            And by virtue of their 'graude' they are enled to kabhi kabhi chota aur kabhi kabhi mota haath maarna.
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