Jogi's Political Fate, Raman's Image at Stake - The New Indian Express

Jogi's Political Fate, Raman's Image at Stake

Published: 15th April 2014 11:38 AM

Last Updated: 16th April 2014 01:40 AM

The three parliamentary constituencies of Chhattisgarh that go to polls Thursday assume significance as the outcome would determine the political fate of Congress veteran Ajit Jogi as well as the public image of Chief Minister Raman Singh.

Chhattisgarh sends a total of 11 members to the Lok Sabha - parliament's lower house - and balloting for the Bastar seat was held April 10.

Mahasamund, Rajnandgaon and Kanker constituencies vote Thursday, while the remaining seven will go to polls April 24.

"The Congress is heading for a total rout in 2014 polls in Chhattisgarh. I don't see any chances for Congress to even maintain its tally of 2009 polls," Raman Singh told IANS. 

The Congress won just one seat, Korba, in the last Lok Sabha polls in Chhattisgarh.

Raman Singh said: "People want to teach a lesson to Congress as its decade-long gross misrule at the centre has ruined the economy and created all sorts of hardships to the common people."

Jogi, who is battling against all odds in Mahasamund, claimed the Congress would definitely improve its tally this time.

"We are going to produce stunning results this time by winning majority of seats, courtesy 10-year-long misgovernance of Raman Singh," Jogi hit back.

Political analysts say the Congress stands a better chance as compared to 2009 and the party could win up to four seats, provided the warring factions within the party call a truce at least till April 24 when polling concludes in the state.

Jogi, who was Chhattisgarh's first chief minister when it was carved out of the erstwhile Madhya Pradesh, is locked in a direct contest in Mahasamund with the BJP's sitting MP, Chandulal Sahu, a local heavyweight of OBC community that makes up roughly 50 percent of the state's 2.55 crore population.

Jogi won Mahasamund seat in 2004 by over 1.25 lakh votes, defeating nine-time MP V.C. Shukla, who contested on a BJP ticket, on his home turf. 

Jogi suffered a near-fatal road accident in the 2004 poll campaign and since then he is bound to a wheelchair.

Raman Singh, who is heading the BJP government since 2003, faces the popularity test in Rajnandgaon seat where his only son, Abhishek Singh, is making his electoral debut.

Abhishek, 32, holds an MBA degree in human resources. He is pitted against Congress candidate Kamleshwar Verma.

In Kanker, Raman's former cabinet colleague Vikram Usendi, who suffered a crushing defeat in November assembly polls, is trying to revive his political career. 

The BJP has dumped its four-time winner Sohan Potai this time from Kanker to bet on Usendi. 

The Congress has fielded Phulo Devi Netam, who commands significant support in a large chunk of this Scheduled Tribes reserved constituency.

(Sujeet Kumar can be contacted at sujeet.k@ians.in)

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