As election fever slowly grips Chhattisgarh, row over former chief minister Ajit Jogi’s caste status is back in focus.
The Bilaspur High Court has recently directed a scrutiny committee constituted by the state government to submit its report within six months on whether Jogi is a tribal as claimed by him or a Dalit as alleged by the BJP’s Banwarilal Agarwal, a former deputy speaker of the State Assembly.
Jogi is the AICC tribal cell chief and the issue of his caste has political hues as many believe the ‘tribal’ badge helped Jogi garner votes in a state with 33 per cent tribal population. Jogi, on his part, has been saying that he has all the certificates intact. The Supreme Court had ordered formation of the scrutiny panel in 2011, after the state government filed a special leave petition against the Bilaspur High Court’s order of 2006 restraining the state government from investigating the matter.
The committee is headed by a senior IAS officer Manoj Pingua. The papers pertaining to Jogi’s caste status have been collected from various sources, including the Jabalpur High Court, state secretariats in Bhopal and Raipur, Indore High Court. “I have received the papers pertaining to the case. I will examine them and submit my report,” Pingua said.