A day before the BJP-led Chhattisgarh government starts its Lok Swaraj Abhiyan, during which ministers and officials would visit villages and interact with people, Marwahi MLA Amit Jogi Wednesday announced the “Gram Awaaz” campaign.
The initiative is aimed at identifying seven “common” demands of villagers across the state and holding the state government “accountable” for them. The move is being read not only as an attempt to put pressure on the ruling BJP, but also on the state Congress leadership, which has been embroiled in a bitter war of words with Amit Jogi and former CM Ajit Jogi.
Following the row over Antagarh tapes, in which purported voice recordings suggested that financial deals led to the withdrawal of the Congress candidate for 2014 Antagarh bypoll, Amit Jogi was expelled by the state party unit for six years, pending appeal. While the state unit recommended to AICC similar action for Ajit Jogi, no punitive action has been taken so far.
Speaking to reporters, Amit Jogi said he believed in the “politics of issues”. “Every year the state government holds Gram Swaraj or Lok Swaraj Abhiyan. It receives thousands of applications, but all these suggestions are consigned to the dust bin. There are seven demands that bind villagers across Chhattisgarh. These demands will be taken to each sarpanch, who will hold gram sabhas on them. Considering the constitutional validity of gram sabhas, these demands will have to be addressed by the state government. I will take up these issues in the next Assembly session.” The demands include free rice for drought-hit areas, paddy bonus for farmers, removal of outsourcing of employment and filling up of medical posts in villages.
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