Former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Ajit Jogi on Monday said he would be starting a new political party to "free the State from the Raman Singh government."
Declaring his plans at a public meeting at Kotami village under his constituency Marwahi, the veteran politician, however, kept a window open for reconciliation with the Congress by not resigning from the party and also asked his supporting MLAs not to resign.
Mr. Jogi desisted from attacking the Congress leadership; nor did he announce the symbol of his party.
Former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Ajit Jogi said he wanted to form a new party to stop the plunder of natural resources in the state.
"People are asking me the reasons behind this move (formation of a new party). I have seen this plunder since 2003 and cannot tolerate it anymore. I am independent now. Our state has enormous amount of natural resources. Ours is one of the richest lands but no one is getting its benefits. I want to stop this plunder. The flag, symbol and name of the party will be decided after taking your (people's) opinion," Mr. Jogi said.
He, however, did not announce a date to launch the new party. Before his speech, he asked his close aide and former MLA Dharamjeet Singh to read out a seven point "Kotami Declaration" to the public.
"A new party will be formed under the leadership of Ajit Jogi. We will form our own government in 2018 and send 10 members to Lok Sabha (in 2019) to raise Chhattisgarh's voice. This is a new beginning for the people of Chhattisgarh which will end the politics of hate and exploitation," Mr. Singh announced.
However, only four MLAs were present in the public meeting as against the claims of Mr. Jogi that he had backing of 15 MLAs. His wife and Kota MLA Renu Jogi, son and Marwahi MLA Amit Jogi, Gunderdehi MLA R.K.Rai and Bilha MLA Siyaram Koushik were present on the dais.
Mr. Jogi desisted from directly attacking the state and the central leaderships of the Congress.