Santosh Bafna, the BJP’s Jagdalpur candidate and the sitting MLA, is leaving no stone unturned to ensure a victory in the assembly elections. Sitting in his large, well-lit and heavily guarded MLA office in the heart of the town, 53-year-old Bafna said his campaign would reiterate his promise to continue with the development agenda. On being asked what he thought of his opponent Samu Kashyap, the rookie Congress candidate, Bafna said that by choosing a Mahara candidate, the Congress was playing ‘jatiwad’ politics.
“But Bastar has never voted on those lines and will not do so this time as well,” he said. Bafna comes from a dyed-in-the-wool BJP family and is known to be approachable and has a good rapport with his voters.
“When his constituents go to his house, he ensures no one leaves before eating,” said Bhanwar Bothra, bureau chief of NaiDunia and the president of the Bastar Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Some of his constituents agree he has done “good work”.
“Bafna has experience and has performed well. Thanks to him we have a medical college. Samu has no agenda,” said Avinash Agarwal, a 50-year-old shopkeeper.
The interiors of Bastar are, however, not so sure. There are people who point to the MLA’s neglect of their area.
“Bafna never came to my village even once in five years. We have no roads or electricity. Samu will get us these,” said Gori Mani, 47, of Bhelwa Bhata block.