Former Chhattisgarh Chief minister Ajit Jogi has said though he will fight the Congress tooth and nail in the upcoming state assembly polls, he will not speak against the Gandhi family, with whom he shared warm relations during his long tenure in the grand old party.
"The real contest in next month's state assembly polls would be between his party, the Janta Congress Chhattisgarh(J), which has formed an alliance with the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)," said Mr Jogi.
"I have left the Congress and will campaign against the party in the Assembly election, but will not speak against the Gandhi family, which has always loved me," he said.
Mr Jogi was the first Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh after the state was carved out of Madhya Pradesh. He was then with the Congress.
Mr Jogi left the Congress in 2016 and floated his own party.
Asked about the allegations against United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra, the veteran leader said, "I will not speak anything against any member of the Gandhi family even during elections. I have shared warm relations with the family for decades."
The four members of the Jogi family belong to three political parties. While Jogi and his son are in the JCC(J), Jogi's wife and daughter-in-law are in the Congress and the BSP respectively.
Hitting out at the Congress, Mr Jogi said it was a spent force which was nowhere in the contest in Chhattisgarh.
"The Congress neither has any face nor any organisation in the state. It has no leader and has become useless," he said, while asserting that the fight in the upcoming polls was between his party and the BJP.
"It is a one-on-one contest between the JCC(J)-BSP alliance and the ruling BJP and we will definitely win the election," Mr Jogi said.
He maintained that he was the chief ministerial face of the alliance, but added that he had still not decided whether to contest the assembly polls or not.
"We are fighting the Congress and the BJP tooth and nail and our alliance will severely harm the poll prospects of both parties," Mr Jogi said.
The former chief minister belongs to the Satnami sect, which has a decent presence in the state.
The Chhattisgarh Assembly polls will be held in two phases -- on November 12 and 20 -- and the results will be announced on December 11.
The BJP has been in power in the state since 2003.