M A I N   N E W S

Ajit Jogi critically hurt in road accident

Raipur/Mumbai, April 11
Former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi was critically injured today with his legs paralysed when the vehicle carrying him on electioneering in his Mahasamund Lok Sabha constituency rammed into a tree and he was admitted to a Mumbai hospital for specialised treatment.

State unit general secretary of Congress Mehttar Lal Sahu, accompanying Mr Jogi in the car, and the driver were also critically injured in the accident which took place at Gariabandh, about 130 km from here, when the 58-year old leader was on way to Deobhang from Rajim for an early morning meeting for the April 20 polls.

Mr Ajit Jogi, tonight underwent a neuro surgery at Bombay Hospital, cardiologist B.K. Goyal said.

Before the operation, Dr Goyal said the ďmajor concern was an injury to his spine due to which Mr Jogi had a spinal shock near the neck and the surgery was needed to remove the instability and pressure condition at the neck.

Mr Jogi is pitted against BJPís V.C. Shukla in the polls.

His two security guards, following him in a car, pulled out a profusely bleeding Mr Jogi and the two others from the vehicle and took them first to a hospital near the accident site and then to a private nursing home Modern Medical Institute (MMI) here.

Mr Jogi suffered fractures and head injuries. Doctors at MMI decided to shift Mr Jogi to Bombay Hospital in Mumbai after an MRI scan on him showed serious spinal injuries.

Mr Jogi was taken to Mumbai in a state government aircraft after taking permission from the Chief Electoral Officer A.K. Vijayvargie as the model code of conduct is in force for the parliamentary polls. Two doctors of MMI and Mr Jogiís wife, Renu, and son Amit accompanied him to Mumbai. In Mumbai, Mr Jogi was kept in the ICU and treated by neuro-surgeon Dev Pujari and cardiologist B.K. Goyal, Bombay Hospital sources said.

Mr Jogiís security guards, Mr Sant Ram Dhruv, and Mr Gorakhnath, said just 10 km before the accident site, he had stopped at Mainpur guest house planning a night halt but as no one opened the door, he decided to move on. They said Mr Jogi was sleeping when the accident took place.

Chief Minister Raman Singh, who was away at Janjgir where Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani arrived as part of his Bharat Uday Yatra, gave permission to shift Mr Jogi to Mumbai in a state government aircraft and spoke to Ms Renu Jogi.

Mr Advani also called up Mr Jogiís wife and assured all help.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi also telephoned Mr Jogiís wife.

Mr Jogiís rival in the Lok Sabha polls, V.C. Shukla and state Governor Lt-Gen K.M. Seth visited the nursing home and enquired about his condition.

A large crowd had gathered outside the MMI on hearing about Mr Jogiís accident.

Mr Jogiís spinal cord was damaged and his legs paralysed though his head injury was not ďvery seriousĒ, doctors told reporters. His blood pressure was very low when he was brought to the hospital but it stabilised later. ó PTI

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