Raipur, Jan 2: 2016 was a politically eventful year for Chhattisgarh with former chief minister Ajit Jogi parting ways from Congress and floating a new outfit while a prominent tribal leader of ruling BJP faced action for giving "anti- party" statements.
The state's politics suddenly turned stormy following a media report about a audio tape containing purported conversations between Ajit Jogi, his son Amit, his 'associates' and Puneet Gupta -- son-in-law of Chief Minister Raman Singh, to allegedly "fix" the by-election to Antagarh assembly seat in 2014 to ensure a cakewalk to the BJP candidate.
The split in the ranks of the state's main Opposition Congress deepened after the audio tape row and the war of words between the two groups- one led by Ajit Jogi and his son Amit, and the other by incumbent state Congress president Bhupesh Baghel and Leader of Opposition T S Singh Deo gained momentum.
Taking a stern action, in January, Congress expelled Amit Jogi, MLA from Marwahi seat, from the party over the issue that further added fuel to the fire. After his son's expulsion, Ajit Jogi intensified attack on his parent party leaders and announced to launch Janata Congress Chhattisgarh in June.
Jogi's sudden decision created a strong buzz right from Delhi to Raipur and led to speculation about its possible impact on the state's bipolar politics dominated by BJP and Congress in the 2018 assembly election. Jogi also garnered support of few Congress leaders including RK Rai, an MLA from Gunderdehi seat. However, in October, Rai was also suspended for anti-party activities and supporting Jogi's camp.
Likewise, BJP suspended its former MP Sohan Potai, from the primary membership of the party for reportedly giving statements against the leadership in public domain. The four-time party MP from Kanker (ST) constituency in tribal-dominated Bastar division, however, claimed that whoever speaks in the interest of the people of Chhattisgarh in BJP is considered to be a rebel.