Chhattisgarh Janata Congress (CJC), the party floated by the state’s first chief minister Ajit Jogi, on Friday announced candidates for 11 seats of a 90-member Assembly. The state goes to the polls late next year. Jogi and his son Amit Jogi had broken away from the Congress in 2016, making the CJC the third player in a state that has seen a two-way battle between the BJP and Congress thus far.
The consensus is that it may be a two-way fight between the Congress and the BJP, as the state has earlier seen close battles between the two parties with voteshare differences less than 2 per cent. However, commentators believe that even if the CJC wins a few seats, it can decide which party will form the next government. Both BJP and Congress leaders have also told The Indian Express that they are wary not just of the seats that the CJC might win, but also of those that it doesn’t, how much it will influence the final result of the seat with the votes that it captures.
Among 11 candidates announced by the CJC on Friday are two former Congress MLAs — Chaitram Sahu and Gulab Singh — and one former government official M S Paikra.
The announcement comes at a time when the BJP is attempting to appease angry farmers with a paddy bonus that the party had promised. And although the Congress has seen several leaders make confident statements, its lack of a popular face is a hindrance, with some leaders admitting to growing tension between senior leaders.