11/12/2018 11:57 AM IST | Updated 11/12/2018 12:43 PM IST

In Chhattisgarh, Ajit Jogi And His Party Are Staring At Existential Crisis

The 72-year-old wheelchair-bound politician, considered to be the only pan-Chhattisgarh leader, was hoping for a hung assembly in which his party could emerge as a kingmaker.

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Ajit Jogi in a file photo

As the Congress seems set to mark a convincing victory in the Chhattisgarh assembly elections, chief minister Ajit Jogi's Chhattisgarh Janata Congress might face an existential crisis as the party's dreams of emerging a kingmaker appear to be falling apart according to early trends.

Jogi, the first chief minister of Chhattisgarh, had quit the Congress in 2016 and formed a new party after his son and MLA Amit Jogi was expelled from the Congress on allegations of working against the party in a by-election.

Earlier this year, Jogi surprised everyone when he managed to convince BSP chief Mayawati to align with him in the assembly election.

The 72-year-old wheelchair bound politician, who is considered to be the only pan-Chhattisgarh leader, had announced that this would be his last election and was hoping for a hung assembly in which his party could emerge as a kingmaker.

According to early trends on Tuesday, Jogi and BSP combine appeared to be winning just four seats in Chhattisgarh.

But the trends also show the Congress is far ahead of halfway mark of 45 in the 90-member assembly, with leads in 61 seats. This means that even after winning 4-5 seats, Jogi's party could be irrelevant in the post-poll scenario.

The former CM was trailing in the first round of counting but has not secured a comfortable lead.

His wife and daughter-in-law are leading from their respective seats in north Chhattisgarh.

Jogi could not be reached for his comments but one of his close associates told HuffPost India that he might consider reconciling ties with the Congress.

"He was, in fact, hoping to become a king but now he is not even a kingmaker. But he is a smart politician who has stayed relevant despite being wheelchair-bound for over 14 years now. Don't write him off so early," said the Chhattisgarh Janata Congress leader requesting anonymity.