At least six senior leaders of the Ajit Jogi-led Janata Congress Chhattisgarh joined the Congress in the presence of Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel.
While the JCC(J) said the exits would not dent its efforts in the Lok Sabha elections, the departures are part of a trend that appear to indicate that the elections may boil down to the traditional two-horse race in the state between the BJP and Congress.
On Tuesday, even as Baghel addressed a rally in Marwahi, considered the bastion of the Jogi family, the senior leaders joined the Congress. They include former MLA Siyaram Kaushik, Chaitram Sahu, Chandrabhan Baramte, Balmukund Dewangan, and candidates in the recent Assembly elections Santosh Kaushik and Pankaj Tiwari.
Amit Jogi, who is expected to fight the Lok Sabha elections after having sat out the Assembly polls, said, “Those people joining the Congress are doing so because they have lost the will to fight for people of Chhattisgarh and want the benefits of being in power. I salute those people who are standing with us despite fear and favour… it is clear that the future belongs to the one regional party in the state.”
JCCJ spokesperson Sanjeev Agarwal said the exit of senior leaders has made space for new, committed people to take leadership positions in the party.
The JCC(J) won 5 seats in the last Assembly elections.