Chandu is a common male name in Chhattisgarh. So is Sahu as a surname.
But 11 Chandu Sahus battling for a berth in Parliament from Mahasamund constituency is a bit too much.
The BJP thinks so, and blames this ‘name game’ on former chief minister Ajit Jogi.
A Congress veteran seeking resurrection, Jogi is among 38 contestants vying for the Mahasamund seat that goes to polls on April 17. Thursday marked the closure of nominations for the seat.
Five of these contestants are namesakes of Chandulal Sahu, incumbent MP and BJP’s candidate from the constituency. Six others are Chanduram Sahus.
The BJP was quick to sniff a rat, alleging Jogi planted the namesakes to puzzle the voters.
“Eleven candidates with similar names is a ploy to create confusion among the voters and is indicative of Jogi’s frustration owing to the support for our party,” BJP spokesperson Shivratan Sharma told HT.
Jogi brushes the allegations aside. “I am way too busy with campaigning and have no idea about it. If the BJP has any complaints, they can approach the Election Commission,” he said before moving to his next campaign stop.
Jogi had won Mahasamund in 2004. He did not contest in 2009.
The Chandu Sahus have perplexed poll officials too. “We will have to be cautious while allotting symbols and numbers to the 11 candidates with almost same names,” an official at the chief electoral office said.
In the 2013 assembly polls, the BJP had six of Mahasamund’s eight assembly segments while the Congress managed one. OBCs constitute 36%, SCs 28% and STs 27% of the voters in the constituency.