BHOPAL: At the forefront of sustained efforts to woo voters hailing originally from the Purvanchal region - Bihar and eastern UP districts - is Digvijaya’s wife Amrita Rai, who hails from Bihar’s Buxar district and was a student leader at Banaras Hindu University in the early 1990s. A source close to Rai told this newspaper that she has been focusing on the Bhojpuri Samaj votes, addressing two dozen public meetings in pockets housing Bhojpuri speaking population in five Assembly segments.
Aiding the Congress efforts are two other key facts — Digvijaya’s mother hails from Bihar and his son Jaivardhan Singh’s wife Sreejmaya Singh is the princess of Dumaria royal family of Bihar.
“Bhojpuri speaking people live in large numbers in at least five assembly segments of Bhopal. Constituting around 3 lakh votes, they have traditionally voted for the BJP in all past elections. But seeing their untapped potential as a complete linguistic voting block, Digvijaya’s wife focused on wooing these sections by addressing their unfulfilled aspirations,” said a Samaj member.
“For the first time, efforts by Rai have made us feel the Bhojpuri speaking voters can be the swing voters. Digvijaya has assured to help us meet our unfulfilled demands, owing to which a large chunk of Purvanchali votes could shift towards Congress,” said Bhojpuri folk singer Mithilesh Rai, who is from Azamgarh in UP.
Well-aware of Congress efforts, ex-BJP MLA from Bhopal Madhya Surendra Nath Singh, who hails from Ballia in UP, said, “Do you think we’ll allow our most committed voters to go to the Congress? The BJP is working on a counter-strategy to ensure no damage is done.”