Aiming to send a strong message to the Congress high command,former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi has asserted that he was asked to join and lead other mainstream parties like the BSP in his state in the past and even pressured by followers to start his own outfit but his fate is rooted to the Congress as he cannot think of politics without the Gandhi family.
Speaking to The Indian Express,Jogis comments come less than a week after he sought to send signals to the party leadership by ensuring the victory of a rebel candidate in a local byelection,where the official Congress candidate ended up losing her deposit.
I am not a politician who has grown from the ground level. My entry has been horizontal I am one of those lucky ones who started sitting in the PMO from the second day of my induction in the party. I am therefore not the kind of politician who will leave the Gandhis just like that. I cannot think of my politics without them. I owe everything to Rajivji. But the day Soniaji or somebody from the family tells me you are not required,it may be different, Jogi,who says he is in the Capital on a medical visit,told The Indian Express.
The former Chattisgarh chief minister,who has been sulking especially after the leadership seemed to have ignored his views while appointing Charan Das Mahant as the acting PCC chief,however,signalled that he was approached by emissaries from other parties. Well,people have been in touch but no one at the topmost level. But this is not new. When I was suspended for two months after false allegations of trying to purchase MLAs,many parties approached me to join them and lead them in the state. Others also said form your own party. However,when I did not do it then,why should I do it now, he said.
When pointed out that there has been talk about his opening a regional outfit as suggested by some of his followers,Jogi said: All types of suggestions are made by workers. I listen to them. I tell them to be patient.
In the same breath though,Jogi maintained that his relationship with Congress president Sonia Gandhi was excellent. What matters to me is my relation with Soniaji,which has remained constant. She has done so much for me. She made me CM when I was nothing,just a spokesperson. When I suffered this accident,she came and stood for two hours with my wife, he said,though he did concede that he was not able to have a similar relationship with Rahul Gandhi.
I dont think I will be able to have the kind of relationship with Rahul,which I have had with his father or mother. Of course,he will be our leader,but I will not have the same kind of informal relationship. It is a professional relationship. With Soniaji I can sulk,but I cannot do it with Rahulji, he said.
Though he did not hide the fact that he was interested in politics only in the state,where Assembly elections are due this year end,Jogi maintained that he would abide by the wishes of Ms Gandhi. It is not up to me,it is up to her. If she orders,dont contest elections,I will do so, he said.
He also made no bones about the fact that he was an aspirant for the chief ministerial post and this had led to divisions in the state,though he contended that he was not responsible for fuelling factionalism in the state.
I am not one who subscribed to the theory of factionalism in Congress. What happens however is that there is competition within,which the media refers to as factionalism, he said.
Though Jogi did mask his dislike for Mahant to some extent,he however sought to point out that until now all PCC chiefs,acting or otherwise had called on him in the past except for Mahant.