Her story: It’s a Bhabi vs Didi duel in Korba

In Chhattisgarh’s power hub Korba, BJP’s RS member is in a close contest with Congress’ LS MP.
Her story: It’s a Bhabi vs Didi duel in Korba

RAIPUR : Korba Lok Sabha constituency is a keenly watched contest that evidently turned into a prestige battle for both the women candidates in the poll fray, BJP’s Saroj Pandey (56), a Rajya Sabha member pitted against the sitting Congress MP Jyotsna Mahant (70).

The constituency, which came into existence in 2009 following delimitation, has turned high profile where Union home minister Amit Shah and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi addressed poll rallies in the past three days.

The constituency perceptibly reverberates with the descriptive expression for both the key contestants as a fight between ‘Bhabhi’ (Jyotsna) and ‘Didi’ (Saroj).

So far, the three parliamentary elections held were won twice by the Congress in 2009 and 2019 while the BJP secured victory in 2014 polls.

Jyotsna is said to be banking on her clean image, simplicity, who first time contested elections in 2019 and won despite the Modi wave. However, the BJP has alleged that she has not just been found missing in her own constituency but also in Parliament. “Even I couldn’t find her in the House (Lok Sabha). Where was she”, was the remark by Amit Shah while speaking at the Katghora rally on May 1.

Jyotsna’s reported failure not to give enough time in her area seemingly goes against her, the BJP believes. Her husband Charandas Mahant was a former Lok Sabha member from Korba, Assembly Speaker and presently leader of opposition campaigning to retain the seat for Congress.

The Congress aggressively countered the BJP citing their candidate as “outsider”.

Saroj is seen as a dynamic BJP leader with a long political career—twice Durg city mayor, who won Lok Sabha polls in 2009.

In fact she created a record for holding elected positions of MP, MLA and Mayor at the same time in 2009 from Durg district.

As a resident of Durg, she cannot vote in Korba constituency. Saroj criticised Charandas Mahant for promoting ‘parivarvad’ (family first, dynast’s mindset) like his party.

Among the local issues in Korba, also cited as power hub, figure environment pollution with fly-ash disposal, adequate compensation for land acquired, rehabilitating those displaced owing to mining, power or industrial projects, and creating scope of local employment.

Interestingly, women will play a key role in deciding the political future of candidates in the seat where of the 8 Assembly segments the female voters outnumbered men. The women in rural areas are 20% less literate compared to urban female population.

Of the eight Assembly constituencies, the BJP has won in six in the last 2023 November elections, while Congress and Gondwana Gantantra party (GGP) bagged one each. The Assembly results of the region offer much confidence to the BJP. In the 2018 Assembly polls, the Congress had won six seats, while the BJP in the remaining two.

Among the voters, the strength of Scheduled Tribes is the highest at 44.5%. The SC comprise 9.2%, Muslims 3.5% while the remaining are general and OBC category.

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The New Indian Express