Ajit Pramod Kumar Jogi, the first Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, is known in political circles as someone who never debated defeat, controversy and health issues.
Mr. Jogi, 74, who died in a private hospital in Raipur on Friday, was the quintessential politician who gained the support of tribal and scheduled caste communities due to his easy accessibility.
Born in a family of modest means in Pendra Road area of erstwhile Bilaspur district, Ajit Jogi earned an engineering degree with a gold medal from a university in Ujjain in 1964.
He passed first in the Indian Police Service and then in the Indian Administrative Service.
After working as a collector for 12 years in various districts including Indore and Raipur, Mr. Jogi resigned in 1986 and joined the Congress. The party sent him to the Rajya Sabha twice – 1986–92 and 1992–98.
He emerged as a meteor in politics and in November 2000 as the first Chief Minister of the newly formed Chhattisgarh state, which outpaced rivals like Congress stalwart Vidyacharan Shukla.
As Chief Minister, he was credited with setting up a state-of-the-art heart hospital in Raipur under public-private-partnership mode.
Mr. Jogi focused on improving health infrastructure in the tribal-backward state and laid the foundation of the new capital city near Abhanpur area of Raipur.
His ambitious “Jogi Dabri The plan “garnered acclaim for developing small water sources, but was later married due to allegations of corruption.
He was accused of dividing the opposition in 2002 after 12 BJP MLAs joined the ruling Congress.
Ajit Jogi succeeded in sidelining Vidyacharan Shukla, who wanted to become a Rajya Sabha MP in 2002. Shri Shukla joined Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party after this.
In January 2003, Mr Jogi suffered a major political setback when he and his son Amit were named as suspects in the murder of the then NCC state treasurer Ram Avtar Jaggi. Amit Jogi was arrested but later acquitted by the trial court.
The BJP overcame the issue during the assembly elections held in late 2003, in which the Congress suffered a humiliating defeat.
After coming to power, the BJP released an audio tape that allegedly suggested that Ajit Jogi had tried to bribe BJP MLAs in an attempt to engineer a division.
He was suspended from the party, but a few months later the Congress fielded him against Vidyacharan Shukla, who was contesting the 2004 Lok Sabha election from Mahasamund on a BJP ticket.
During the campaign, Ajit Jogi succumbed to a road accident and was permanently left on a wheelchair. But he defeated Vidyacharan Shukla.
During Raman Singh’s 15-year-long tenure following the 2003 assembly elections, Mr. Jogi was often dubbed as the BJP’s “Team B” for his perceived closeness to the ruling party.
When the Congress lost its third consecutive assembly election in 2013, the party made Bhupesh Baghel the head of the state unit, despite the fact that he did not have any alliances with Ajit Jogi.
Mr Jogi left the Congress in 2016 after he was alleged to have been involved in fixing in the 2014 by-election for the Antagarh assembly seat.
After the scandal surfaced in 2015, Bhupesh Baghel expelled Amit Jogi from the Congress. In June 2016, Ajit Jogi formed the Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (JCC).
Prior to the 2018 assembly elections, Mr. Jogi created a surprise by tying up with the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party. The coalition was expected to play the role of a kingmaker.
But Congress won 68 out of 90 landslides. The Jogi-Mayawati alliance won only seven seats.
Ajit Jogi himself managed to win his traditional Marwahi seat, banking on his charisma.
Mr. Jogi has been the subject of controversy ever since he entered politics as a member of a tribal community.
After becoming the Chief Minister, BJP leader Sant Kumar Netam had complained to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes that his claim related to Scheduled Tribes was based on fake documents.
With the Congress’s return to power, he and his family members faced several fresh allegations regarding the Antagarh by-election and caste status.
Although he was sidelined in state politics, the four-time MLA never lost his sharp temper, especially targeting his opponents. His political legacy is now expected to be played by his son and JCC chief Amit Jogi.