Raipur, November 30
As countdown to the election result began, Congress high command is engaged in dealing the toughest job, i.e. picking the most appropriate name from the list of probable for CM post. According to information, after considering all aspects including caste, experience, popularity, leadership skill and political acumen, the party’s national leadership has filtered five names as potential CM candidate. If Congress gets clear majority, one of these five is likely to get the coveted baton.
While BJP fought assembly elections in State under leadership of Raman Singh, the Congress refrained from doing so and maintained that its tradition was to select leader on the basis of consensus after victory. Although, the ruling party frequently mentioned Ajit Jogi’s name as hidden CM candidate during the hustings, the principal remained tightlipped over such surmises.
The party reportedly started working on list of probable for CM post when political analysts indicated swing in its side after first round of polls. The high command gave task to Chhattisgarh incharge BK Hariprasada, and AICC secretary Bhakta Charandas to prepare comprehensive report of the elections by highlight performance of the State leaders. The two were also asked to prepare a secret list of candidates who deserve becoming CM and reasons behind their candidature.
On the basis of the report and the secret list, the party came up with five names –AICC treasurer Motilal Vora, PCC president Charandas Mahant, Congress legislators’ party (CLP) leader Ravindra Choubey, former CM Ajit Jogi and his spouse Dr Renu Jogi.
Vora is one of the senior-most leader in the party. He is close to party supremo Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. He has been CM of undivided Madhya Pradesh, worked as union minister and held various other posts at State and national level in the party. Presently, he is said to be the most preferred choice for CM post as he enjoys respect of all factions and has capability to keep the party united under his leadership. The party had made him chairman of the poll campaign committee during elections. However, sources close to Vora say with general elections slated to be held in April-May 2014, Gandhis are less likely to relieve Vora from the post of treasurer.
PCC chief Charandas Mahant, who is also holding the portfolio of union minister of state, is the only Lok Sabha MP from the party in Chhattisagrh. The party made him State president after PCC chief Nandkumar Patel was killed by naxals on May 25, 2013. Mahant always termed himself out of CM race but his supporters and the high command think that he had done commendable job after leadership crisis occurred in the party in wake of Darbha incident. He has also earned favour of Hariprasada and Vora.
Among three other candidates, former CM Ajit Jogi can be preferred for his vast experience as a skillful administrator and his closeness with Gandhi family. The name of his spouse Dr Renu Jogi too appears in the list as she is acceptable to all for her clean image. The party might also project her as a face of women power.
Among the five probable, CLP leader Ravindra Choubey has least chance of getting the CM post as he has less number of supporters in the party as compared to other four. However, the party can consider his experience as a minister under Jogi’s regime and in undivided Madhya Pradesh. His oratory skills and deep knowledge about the State too give his some edge.