RAIPUR: The Naxal-affected Dantewada Assembly constituency is poised to witness a face-off between the mother and the son in an interesting electoral contest, which is likely to be a multi-cornered, in the forthcoming elections.
The sitting Congress legislator Devati, wife of slain Mahendra Karma is being challenged by the candidature of her son Chavindra Karma who is contesting the election on the Samajwadi Party ticket from the reserved scheduled tribe (ST) seat. All efforts by the senior Congress leaders to persuade Chavindra to reconsider his decision didn't yield any result. He remained reluctant and even tuned down the advice of his mother on not to contest the polls.
Mahendra Karma was killed in an audacious Jhiram Valley Maoist attack on 25 May 2013 in Bastar when a chunk of the Chhattisgarh Congress leadership were eliminated. Devati was later given the Congress ticket for Dantewada seat and she got elected defeating the BJP's Bhima Mandavi by nearly 6000 votes.
"I am not against my mother but felt terribly hurt by the hollow assurances given earlier by Congress leaders. I had sought a ticket from the party high command. In 2013 polls the Congress leadership assured me a ticket for 2018 Assembly polls. Now what happened to that promise? Their choice is again my mother Devati Karma", said Chavindra Karma and further added that he will intensify his election campaign in the region.
Political commentator based in Bastar Shishir Roy Choudhary opined that despite mother and son divided along the political lines, Devati's simplicity and her concern for the local tribals gives her an edge over others in the constituency.
The Dantewada seat is in for a multi-cornered contest with the BJP and the Communist Party of India (CPI) also in the fray. The CPI has entered into a pre-poll alliance with the former CM Ajit Jogi's Janta Congress Chhattisgarh-J and the Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party.
This year again the BJP has the party ticket to Bhima Mandavi and the CPI announced Nanda Ram Sori as its candidate from Dantewada.
Results: Previous three elections in Chhattisgarh
2003: Mahendra Karma Nanda Ram Sori
2008: Bhima Mandavi Manish Kunjam
2013: Devati Karma Bhima Mandawi