New Delhi, May 30, 2020.
Ajit Jogi, the first Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, has died. The 74-year-old had been in hospital for a few days.
His son Amit Jogi made the announcement on Twitter.
“20-year-old Chhattisgarh has lost a patriarch. Not just me, but Chhattisgarh and its citizens have lost a father,” Amit Jogi posted in his tribute.
Ajit Jogi suffered two cardiac arrests over the past week. He had been in hospital for nearly three weeks.
The former Congress leader became the first Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh when the state was born in 2000.
He exited the Congress in 2016 and went on to form the Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J).
In the 2018 election, Ajit Jogi’s party failed to make a mark as the BJP lost power after three terms and the Congress won comfortably.
Mr Jogi – a Congressman all his life – was expelled along with his son for anti-party activities.
He had a long association with the Nehru-Gandhi family, even though he was never on the best of terms with Rahul Gandhi.
A veteran of the Indian Police Service and the Indian Administrative Service, Mr Jogi was convinced by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to quit the services and join the Congress. And it was Gandhi family loyalists, Digvijaya Singh and Arjun Singh, who brought Ajit Jogi into political prominence.
In 1986, Mr Jogi entered the Rajya Sabha, where he remained for two terms till 1998. In 1998, he contested the Lok Sabha elections from Raigarh and won, but he lost a year later from Shahdol.
When Chhattisgarh was formed in 2000, the Congress which had 48 out of the 90 seats, was keen on nominating a tribal as Chief Minister.
Mr Jogi’s tenure as chief minister wasn’t an easy one as he faced opposition from the BJP as well as within the Congress.
Mr Jogi contested as a Congress candidate in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.
During the campaign, Mr Jogi was injured in a car accident which left him partially paralysed. He won the seat by nearly 1.2 lakh votes.
It was the only seat the Congress won in Chhattisgarh in that election, sealing Mr Jogi’s status as the tallest party leader in the state. The Congress projected Mr Jogi once again in the 2008 assembly elections, but lost to the BJP under Dr Raman Singh. In the 2014 general elections, Ajit Jogi lost to the BJP.