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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Chhattisgarh ex-CM kicks up controversy; later says his statement was misconstrued- Mrit News

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On the concluding day of the two-day working committee meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday, a statement purportedly by three-time former Chief Minister Dr. Raman Singh kicked up a controversy.

A war of words between Dr. Singh’s BJP and the ruling Congress ensued over reports of the former’s statement that “the BJP was on a sticky wicket in Chhattisgarh as the smaller regional parties – that had caused a split of votes to help BJP win thrice in the past – were losing ground”.

While Dr. Singh said that his statement was misconstrued, the Congress said that it was a tacit acknowledgement of the fact that compared to it, the BJP had no standing in the State.

“My statements have been misconstrued and the Congress’s public relations cell is behind such news stories. The issues that have been discussed on our party’s forum are very clear that there was a need to work harder and I had said that we had bigger goals and needed to increase our vote share from the existing 37 percent to 51 percent,” said Dr. Singh.

He was backed by his party colleague and BJP State president Vishnudeo Sai. “What he [Dr. Singh] said was that we would need 51 percent seat share in the Assembly if we had to script a comeback and for that a vote share of around 51 percent would be needed,” he said. He added that there was nothing unusual about a leader making such a statement to set his house in order and attacked the Congress for spreading misinformation.

Both the leaders, while acknowledging the need to increase vote share, steered clear of addressing questions on the BJP gaining from a third player – the Nationalist Congress Party, the Gondwana Ganatantra Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) or the Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (JCC) – nibbling up the Congress’s share of votes and instead accused the Congress of spreading falsehood and rumours.

Cabinet Minister and senior Congress leader Ravindra Choubey said that Dr. Singh’s “statement” was a warning to the BJP. “We have been saying all along that these parties have been acting as a B-Team of the BJP. By making such a statement, he has only acknowledged that without the veiled support of such parties, the BJP is considerably weaker compared to the Congress in Chhattisgarh.”

“The Congress doesn’t need to interfere in our party affairs and should try and improve their own party’s functioning,” Mr. Sai said.

In the 90-member Chhattisgarh Assembly, the Congress has now 71 members, the BJP 14, while the remaining five seats are shared between the BSP and the JCC – a party founded by former Chief Minister, the late Ajit Jogi – who fought the 2018 elections in alliance.

Responding to his party’s prospects in light of the statement attributed to Dr. Singh, JCC President Amit Jogi said that such statements were misinformed.

“The last time the BJP formed a government was in 2013 where as we debuted in 2018…If anything, had it not been for us, the BJP would have suffered a worse rout than it did in 2018. Chhattisgarh has seen the misrule of the BJP for 15 years and the Congress’s under Mr. Baghel for the last four and the people certainly want a change,” he said.

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