RAIPUR: The Maoist-affected and tribal-dominated Dantewada Assembly segment has never been a stronghold of any party ever since the Chhattisgarh state was carved-out in November 2000. However, political parties believe the bypoll might see a possible impact of 'sympathy wave' in favour of the candidates who are victims of the left-wing extremism.
While both the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP have geared-up for the upcoming poll battle, the parties are yet to declare their candidates. The bypoll in Dantewada seat was necessitated following the death of a sitting MLA Bheema Mandavi.
Barely two days before the first phase of polling in Bastar Lok Sabha constituency, the BJP MLA Mandavi and four police personnel were killed in a powerful IED blast triggered by the Naxals at Dantewada on April 9.
While BJP insiders stated that the discussions among the senior leaders remained centred on only one name — Ojaswi Mandavi, wife of slain BJP legislator while in Congress there are four probable names that have emerged.
The ruling Congress, according to the party sources, however, is contemplating to yet again offer a ticket to Devti Karma, wife of late senior Congress tribal leader Mahendra Karma who was killed in Darbha ambush (Bastar) by armed Maoists in 2013. Devti, who won the Dantewada seat in 2013 assembly elections lost to Mandavi in 2018 polls.
The state Congress leaders deliberated on the four candidates during the meeting that concluded at the state party office — Rajiv Bhavan, on Thursday.
The party sources informed that Chhattisgarh Congress screening committee will submit a list to the party’s Central Election Committee with Devti Karma as the first choice.
"The family of Mahendra Karma has been a victim of the Naxal violence. We understand the sympathy factor may work this election. The Congress will equally gain from the tribals’ support," a senior Congress leader on condition of anonymity told Express.
Dantewada is likely to witness a bipolar contest between the Congress and the BJP in another round of poll battle to be held on September 23. Women outnumbered men in the Assembly constituency with 98876 female voters out of the 188263 electorates who are eligible to exercise their franchise.