Saturday, June 09, 2007

LESSONS FROM KHAIRAGARH-MALKHARODA: What's Wrong with the Congress?


DOCTOR'S COMEBACK
“Doctor saheb is a very simple man,” the chief minister’s wife declared to a confidante. “He isn’t cut out for politics…”

This was shortly after the BJP’s defeat in Rajnandgaon. Like so many others, I’m sure she now feels differently about her husband. Fortune, it seems, is once again smiling on him. Dr. Raman Singh is back with not one but two bangs: Khairagarh and Malkharoda.

The BJP cadre, which had lost all hope of coming back to power after their party’s shameful defeats at Kota and Rajnandgaon, is understandably ecstatic.

Meanwhile, the state Congress president is “shocked.” He was sure his candidate from Malkharoda would “win by 25000 votes.” Instead he lost by that margin. The result at Khairagarh, where Congress had won only two months ago (by 16000 votes), took most political commentators by surprise. The theme of “People taking on the Palace” worked like a charm for a sinking BJP.

In light of this, my father has called for “introspection at all levels of the party.”


BLAME GAME
“If only Devwrat (the Lok Sabha member from Rajnandgaon) had listened to my advise,” a senior Congress leader told a journalist at Delhi, “and given the (Khairagarh assembly) ticket to an OBC candidate.”

Other ‘explanations’ too have been doing the rounds. One: Ajit Jogi didn’t really want Devwrat’s wife to win since this would have made him very powerful in Delhi. [Incidentally, victory has nothing to do with power, atleast not in the GOP.] Two: the Lodhis, numbering over 30000, voted en block for the BJP candidate who was from their community. Three: unlike the previous two times, the BJP’s campaign was not high-profile but grassroot. Four: the state government had ‘managed’ the Naxalites through a local liquor baron and a Congress Mandi adhyaksha, resulting in their victory from Salhebara, the Naxalite/tribal belt of the constituency. Five: this election was a matter of life and death for the CM. Six: the people were disappointed with Devwrat’s ‘princely’ style of functioning and lack of availability as an MP.

Perhaps, there is some substance to all of this. I, however, will restrict my observation to Explanation No. 1 (above). Certain points need to be noted. Unlike Kota and Rajnandgaon, where Papa had been specifically mandated to take total charge of the campaigns, this time he wasn’t even consulted for either the Khairagarh or the Malkharoda tickets. Even if he would have been asked, I believe his position would have been this: the local MP should decide the Khairagarh candidate, especially because this constituency had been represented by his family since Independence; likewise, the state Congress president ought to decide who contests- and wins- from Malkharoda, which is part of his home district. Further, he decided he would not campaign in Malkharoda for the following reasons: one, the candidate didn’t ask him to; two, he had no clue who the candidate was; three, his health doesn’t permit him to undertake a hectic tour program; four, his son- I- was fighting the biggest battle of our lives, a battle of life and death; five, he didn’t want it to be said- as it most certainly would be- that he ‘sabotaged’ the Congress campaign in his rival’s home-turf. The only reason he went to Khairagarh for the last three days of the campaign, was because he was asked to do so by the candidate- and he needed a reason to be nearer to me. Even so, given my Case, his ‘heart wasn’t into it.’ I mean what father would put his heart into asking for votes when his son is on trial for a capital offense?

The question, therefore, is not whether Papa wanted ‘Devwrat’s wife’ to win Khairagarh- but whether, under the circumstances cited above, he was in a position- political, physical and mental- to really make a difference?

ANTIDOTE, ANYONE?
For me, the two most worrying outcomes of these two bye-elections are as follows. First: this state government’s continuing ability to influence voting in the Naxalite belt (as seen in Salhebara). More than anything else, this factor had contributed to the ouster of the previous Congress government from the state. Secondly, the polling of the Satnami community (in Malkharoda) in BJP’s favor, as opposed to the BSP.

The need of the hour, therefore, is to reorient the Congress party’s priorities to ensure that: (a) we win in the Naxalite-dominated areas (which contains over 30 mostly tribal constituencies); and (b) the Satnamis don’t leave the Congress fold (as they did in Malkharoda).

Only a decisive change of leadership at the state level will, in my opinion, salvage the sinking morale of the Congress workers.

Fortune, afterall, cannot be allowed to smile perpetually on one man, especially one hell-bent on turning Chhattisgarh into a perpetual war-zone.

AJ

6 comments (टिप्पणी):

Abhinandan said...

Political rivals of Jogiji both outside and within Congress had before the byelection said that the result of the two seats will be determined by what happens to Amit. Dont know who was proved right?

Anonymous said...

Re: [chhattisgarh-net] Why Congress Lost Malkharoda-Khairagarh?

In the last assembly elections the naxalite belt of bastar meaning dantewara and
bijapur had voted congress candidates to the assembly and so the bjp did not
have the dominating influence there despite accusations that the central
security forces had helped in false voting for the bjp. At that time the rest of
bastar was not a naxalite belt and it isnt now also and it was in this area that
the bjp had won and may still be in ascendance.
rahul


Rahul Banerjee
74,Krishnodayanagar,Khandwa naka,Indore,Madhya Pradesh, India-452001
Cell no: +919425943023
webpage: http://rahulbanerjee.notlong.com

Anonymous said...

Re: Why Congress Lost Malkharoda-Khairagarh?

I know one thing and that is congress is no more a that congtress
which was even few years ago. To-day, the quality of a congressman
is not what are his grassroot working, what is his acceptance with
the people and above all his leadership qualities. Days are gone
when there were quality leaders in the congress party. Now the
biggest Chamcha with yes man spirit gets ticket.

Congressman at Orissa have lost creditability and are no more
respected, as they are known to be a bunch of bunch of chamchas to
those leaders who have no public support and are corrupt.

I am sure the loss of both the bye elections is due to poor
selection of candidates at both the seats and lack of trust of the
people that they will be able to rise to the expectations of the
people.

Nakul Pradhan i.e. Nakxy.

Anonymous said...

Why Congress Lost Malkharoda-Khairagarh?

Dear Amit Jogi,

I do not agree with your arguments about the defeat of Congress party
candidates both at Malkharoda and also at Khairagarh. It appears that it has
more to satisfy personal ego and less of political analysis.

I am of the opinion that the reasons for the loss of both the seats are
different and have little in common. The loss of Malkharoda assembly seat has
nothing to do with the selection of candidate. The defeat was due to big dreams
sold by a battery of high profile BJP leaders, who not only exhibited extra
ordinary show of strength and also misused official machinery to a great extent.
Voters were lured with big promises to be fulfilled by their candidate, once he
is voted to as their representative. The neglect of the area during last 8-10
years led the voters to take a chance with BJP by believing in their big
promises of development.

I fail to understand from where the story of shifting of Satnami votes has
come up. Either some one had fed you with wrong information or you have drawn an
imaginary picture in your mind. The shifting of the satnami votes had already
taken place in the last elections held in the year 2003, and not now. Congress
had lost that seat to BSP at that by stumbling to third position after the BJP.

The most important factor according to me is the confusion created in the
cadres of the party by brining down the image of the congress party in the eyes
of the voters by a senior congress leader. When AICC President Madam Sonia
Gandhi ji had declared the name of the candidate, Hon’ble M.P. Shri Jogi ji
wondered who this fellow is, and even stated that he does not know him by name.
Such statement from a senior congress leader about a candidate selected by the
Congress High Command with the approval of Madam Soniaji raised more confusion
in the cadres of the congress party and also amongst the voters. This is also
one of the major reasons of the defeat of the candidate.

The talks of division or groupism in the congress party have become a routine
affair particularly at Chhattisgarh. It has not only attracted the attention of
the media but also amongst the voters that congress is a divided house. Such
statement showing ignorance about the identity of the congress party candidate
worked like fuel to fire. Party workers worked over time to do the necessary
repair work but in vain. I am sure, if such statement would not have come,
result could have been much better for the Congress party.

The Congress candidate has personally told me that he had requested the
presence of Hon’ble M.P. Shri Ajit Jogi ji to campaign from him, right on the
very fourth day of filing of nomination. Even the PCC president Dr. C.D.Mahant
in a written letter addressed to Hon’ble M.P. Shri Jogi ji had asked him to
campaign at Malkharoda for at least three days, which was also not done, for the
reasons best known to him. His presence would have definitely improved the
chances of the congress party.

How can we ignore the sabotage done by former MLA for two terms Shri
Chainsingh Samle and former Minister and senior congress leader Surendra Bahadur
Singh and Raja of Sakti. Even congress workers and voters knows very well that
who was pulling the strings from behind the actions of both these personalities,
to ensure that congress party does not win. Can you say that is this a win for
those who have masterminded sabotage or a win for a BJP candidate?

If we discuss about the margin of defeat, the main factor is the mass
migration of almost 28000 voters to North India in search of work. This has also
changed the equation, as most of those migrated were congress voters. I do not
want to go in to hypothetical talks but would like to emphasis that we cannot
overlook this factor too.

Now let me discuss about Khairgarh

Selection of Candidate: I agree with you that the candidate
belonging to OBC would have been much better. The seat is a traditionally
congress seat and the defeat is not digestible, in the light of the fact that
congress took a lead of 16,000 just before two months at the Parliamentary bye
election. The defeat of the congress candidate by 15000 votes and the loss of
the lead of 16000 makes to an over all erosion of 31000 votes in last two
months. When you discussed about the defeat margin of 25000 at Malkharoda, it
was expected that you should have mentioned this erosion of 31000 votes at
Khairagarh.

I pick up from your mail the words “ Six: the people were disappointed with
Devwrat’s princely style of functioning and lack of availability as an M.P.�

It is expected that we should respect elders and name them with respect a
person who has been MLA for three terms and now is a Hon’ble Member of
Parliament. It would have been better if he would have been addressed
appropriately with respect and not in the language by calling him by name as
used by you in your mail.

About Blame Game, what I have heard is that though Hon’ble M.P. Shri Ajit
Jogi ji tried his best to win the election at any cost but failed miserably is a
personal loss to him and not Madam Padma Singh ji, the congress candidate.

Perhaps you will also agree with me that Hon’ble M.P. Shri Jogiji tried his
best, even at that point of time when you were fighting the biggest battle of
your life, and he also wanted to be nearer to you but concentrated at Khairgarh
to win the said seat at any cost. This has also crushed the image that Hon’ble
M.P Shri Ajit Jogi is a star campaigner and is no more a master to win
elections.

I do not agree with you that the change of leadership at the state level is
going to salvage the image of the party. If you believe it has gone down in the
eyes of the people of Chhattisgarh, it is due to lack of coordination between
the organization and elected representatives. I need not elaborate any further
but the fact is that what has happened during last three and half years and is
happening even now is seen by the people of the state. When at Khairagarh most
of the elected representatives made hectic campaign, they had no time to come to
Malkharoda, why and for what reason, you know better than me.

I firmly believe that the need of the hour is to work in a coordinated manner
and instead of working for the image of an individual, if the programs and
policies of the party are given preference to take them to people of the state,
result is bound to come, more particularly at that point of time, when ruling
BJP government is neck deep in corruption and misrule of the state is at its
peak.

Arjun Tiwari.

Undertrial said...

In Response to Mr. Arjun Tiwari:

while i cannot claim objectivity atleast on matters than concern my
father, mr. tiwari's response to my poser is not only slanderous in
the blatantly false allegations he levels but also smacks of a deep-
rooted bias (which i shall presently not go into for fear of being
branded as 'casteistic'): how, for instance, does he justify the
continuance of a state leadership that has not ONE electoral victory
to its collective credit in the over four years of our having been in
the opposition; that is, for all purposes, viewed as a total sell-out
(mind you, a perception that i do not fully subscribe to: more than
anything else, our successive defeats manifest a failure on the part
of the state party leadership to politically capitalize on this
government's obvious failures and present themselves as a viable-
better- alternative)?

the question, then, is not what has 'Jogi' NOT done; but rather, what
has this present state leadership done to win the hearts of our
people- something that can best be reflected in incidences of
positive electoral outcomes?

even discounting for these two bye-elections, the recently declared
results of city corporations elections etc. have put every
congressperson's head to shame: to cite one example, our candidate in
dongargarh lost her deposit. i would not be off-mark if i said that
there is a widespread panic among grassroot party workers that if
nothing is done- and soon- we will have, like last time, managed to
snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. the momentum of kota and
rajnandgaon has been squandered at malkharoda and khairagarh, and
unless decisive changes are made, that sense of panic might transform
into a self-fulfilling prophesy.

as far as mr. tiwari's central argument goes, it appears lopsided: if
mr. ajit jogi's one utterance could influence the outcome in one
constituency, to claim that his 'magic' no longer works in the other
is outright contradictory. perhaps, he would like to put himself in
my father's shoes to decipher 'reasons best known to him (i.e., my
father)': would he be upto campaigning if his son- or father- were
awaiting sentence in a capital offense case?

to set the record straight on points of FACT:
(a) my father was NOT part of the process that led to the selection
of the party nominees in either of the constituencies;
(b) the candidate from Malkharoda is a liar in the claim he has made
(on the contrary, the district congress president, who is also the
right-hand man of the hon'ble PCC president, went on record to say
that "we" don't need "Jogi"; despite my father's request to the PCC
president, no contradiction or clarification was forthcoming);
(c) i said that the worrying feature about this election is that
satnamis voted for the BJP for the first time, or to use my precise
words, "secondly, the polling of the Satnami community (in
Malkharoda) in BJP’s favor, as opposed to the BSP" (nothing about
them Not voting for the BSP), and while the congress did finish third
in malkharoda in 2003, it did so by a margin of about 3000 as
opposed to the present more than 20000- in any event, the outcome at
malkharoda does not justify the hon'ble pcc president's shamefaced
parading of a vanquished candidate before party bigwigs at delhi, a
prize that is usually reserved for victors; and
(d) as far as my addressing Rt. hon'ble MPs by their christian names
is concerned, i believe it is not for him to take offense, especially
given my long and cherished relationship with the gentleman in
question. frankly, this is not- and should not be- a forum in
etiquette.

to conclude, mr. tiwari's prescription of 'better coordination' is at
best both mild and meek, and at worst, cunningly motivated:
coordination must be commanded by virtue of one's merit- in this
case, the degree of trust that people for whatever reason(s) vest in
persons and institutions that seek to represent them- and certainly
not demanded by way of bombarding people with show-cause notices that
eventually amount to nothing.

AJ

Anonymous said...

Re: Why Congress Lost Malkharoda-Khairagarh?

Let me make it clear that I am not biased nor my comments are
slanderous but reflects the actual situation that exists. Nobody should fear of
being labeled as being casteist when the discussion hovers around certain topic
already raised on the Lok Manch of CGNet. If certain facts are wrongly
interpreted as allegations or being
biased, I leave it up to members to have their own opinion.

There are two prime issues that have emerged now. One is about the
quality of state leadership of the congress party and other is about
Malkharoda.I would prefer to comment point wise.

State Leadership:

The selection of who is to lead the state congress party in a state
is the decision taken by the Congress Party High Command.

You agree with me that when the collective efforts are put in by the
congressmen, party has won the elections as has happened at Kota
assembly seat and Rajnandgaon Parliamentary Seat but with a divided
house, we see disaster like Malkharoda and Khairagarh.

I agree with you that congress party has not capitalized the
opportunities to the extent it should have done to oppose the
wrong doings of the present government which is inefficient corrupt
government in power. However, it is also necessary to identify those
faces in congress party who are creating bumps on the road for the
Party's State leadership and try to malign the image of the party in
public. How can one justify the exhibition of few cadres creating
awkward situation and showing vulgarity in front of the party
leaders of National stature. Such indiscipline in the party is
causing much harm than doing good. If show cause notices are issued
to those who have uttered in public bad words about our party
leaders of national stature, it can not be termed as bombarding
with show cause notices. The defeat at Dongargarh is the result of
indiscipline amongst the congress party workers. That is why I had
put emphasis on party unity and showing a united face in the public
and settling the disputes in private. Unfortunately it has been
termed as mild and meek response.

There is no panic amongst the party workers but they are worried and
unhappy to find few leaders who for boosting their own personal
image, satisfying own ego are engaged in personality clash to create an
impression amongst the public that they are superior than the
organization. How to solve this crisis. What should be on the top
priority list of the state leaders? Once this situation is addressed
effectively,no power on the earth can stop us from snatching back
the power from the corrupt anti people government that is ruling the
state right now.

MALKHARODA :

The selection of the candidate was done by the High Command. If he
is vanquished candidate according to Mr. Amit Jogi, then I have
nothing to say. Regarding shifting of Satnami votes, I stick to my
opinion expressed earlier.

Before I conclude, I strongly feel that CGNet being a LOK MANCH,
it is in the interest of the decency of the forum to maintain a
certain minimum standard to be observed by the members while
contributing their articles and expressing their opinions. Though
Mr. Amit Jogi have personal long cherished relation with some one
who is a Honble Member of Parliament, it is expected that we should
respect the chair and the person holding that estmeed chair,
particularly when the world at large refers to it and we the members
take pride in being partners in our endeavor.

Arjun Tiwari

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CONTACT ME. मुझसे संपर्क करें

Amit Aishwarya Jogi
Anugrah, Civil Lines
Raipur- 492001
Chhattisgarh, INDIA
Telephone/ Fascimile: +91 771 4068703
Mobile: +91 942420 2648 (AMIT)
email: amitaishwaryajogi@gmail.com
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