DANTEWADA: Congress and BJP candidates on Wednesday filed their nomination papers from the Dantewada assembly seat where by-election will be held on September 23.
The bypoll in the Naxal-affected seat, reserved for Scheduled Tribe (ST) community, has been necessitated following the death of BJP legislator Bhima Mandavi in a Naxal attack in April this year.
The ruling Congress has once again put its faith in Devti Karma, wife of Congress leader Mahendra Karma who was killed in the Jhiram valley Naxal attack in 2013.
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Devti Karma had narrowly lost from the seat in last year's assembly elections.
The opposition BJP has fielded Ojaswi Mandavi, wife of Bhima Mandavi, hoping to cash in on sympathy vote.
Devti Karma and Ojaswi Mandavi filed their nomination papers at the Collectorate office here on Wednesday, the last day of filing nominations for the bypoll, an official here said.
Both candidates paid obeisance at Maa Danteshwari temple here ahead of filing their nominations.
Devti Karma was accompanied by Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, AICC state in-charge PL Punia, cabinet ministers and party MLAs during the filing of her nomination.
The Chief Minister later addressed a public meeting here in Devti Karma's support.
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In his address, Baghel said, "The BJP had looted natural resources of Bastar during its 15-year-long rule (2003-2018) in the state.
After the Congress came to power in December last year, it had taken several steps for the welfare of the people of Bastar.
The government returned the land of farmers (acquired for a proposed Tata Steel project but remained unused) in the Lohandiguda area of Bastar," he said, highlighting pro-tribal and pro-farmers measures taken by his government.
Baghel appealed to people to vote for his party candidate.
Similarly, Ojaswi Mandavi, accompanied by former chief minister Raman Singh, BJP state chief Vikram Usendi, leader of opposition Dharamlal Kaushik and other party leaders took out a road show before filing her nomination.
ALSO READ: Bypoll for Dantewada Assembly seat to be held on September 23
After she filed the nomination, Raman Singh tweeted, Wife of amar shaheed Bhima Mandavi, Ojaswi Mandavi filed her nomination in the presence of senior party leaders after taking blessings from people of Dantewada.
"I am confident that people will defeat kushasan (misrule) and lal atank (red terror) and make the lotus bloom." In the 2018 assembly elections, Devti Karma had lost to BJPs Bhima Mandavi in Dantewada by a thin margin of 2,172 votes.
However, Devti Karma had won the seat in the 2013 assembly polls defeating BJPs Bhima Mandavi.
Bhima Mandavi and four police personnel, travelling in a vehicle, were killed on April 9 in a powerful IED blast triggered by Maoists near Shyamgiri village of Dantewada district.
Dantewada was the only assembly constituency which the BJP had won in the 2018 elections in the Bastar division, which consists of 12 Assembly segments.