Former Chhattisgarh CM Ajit Jogi who has decided to back BSP in the Lok Sabha elections does not have a completely negative view of PM Narendra Modi.
“I am not one among those who think that Modi is a total disaster,” Jogi, who formed Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (JCC) three years ago after he and his son Amit were expelled from Congress, told TOI in an interview.
Jogi believes there are at least three areas in which Modi has left significant impact all over the country. The first area where Modi has been successful and effective, he said, is Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. “People of Chhattisgarh, especially womenfolk and poor families, are very happy about it.”
Another sphere where Modi has made a huge difference in the quality of life, the tribal leader said, is rural housing. Comparing his former party’s Indira Awaas Yojana with Modi’s scheme, Jogi said: “What we were giving was not enough and to a very few.” On the third factor, he said: “Internationally, he has emerged as a leader who counts. He is not one of the PMs who outside the country will not be taken cognizance of.” Paraplegic since 2004 when he met with a serious road accident during a Lok Sabha poll campaign, the wheel-chair bound yet mentally agile Jogi, however, had a disclaimer to add. “But the negative aspect is very damaging. The social fabric of the nation is destroyed. No one trusts the other —it’s true (not just) for Dalits, minorities, but others too. In India, we would never ask each other’s religion and caste but that’s what’s happening now.”
“That’s not the nation we want,” Jogi said, adding that re-electing the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah to combine to power would be a disaster for the social fabric of the nation and for the growing inequality between the rich and the poor.
But, Jogi struck a balance in his criticism by coming down on Congress too. The Congress manifesto, he said, handed over an agenda to Modi on a silver platter. “It is not clear why Congress needed to include a chapter on J&K in the manifesto and issues like AFSPA, sedition laws,” he said, arguing that it would help BJP to set the agenda for polls, which would determine who the winner is.
Though Jogi is out of the national race and his JCC won only seven seats in the 2018 assembly polls, many in Raipur believe that he remains a political force with a pan-Chhattisgarh appeal.