The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appears set for a cakewalk victory in Chhattisgarh’s Antagarh assembly seat, which goes for by-elections on September 13, after all but one of the rival candidates withdrew their nomination.
The turn of events has left the Congress crying foul with even the party’s candidate for the reserved (ST) seat, Manturam Pawar, also withdrawing his nomination. This has left a lone independent rival with no political clout pitted against the BJP’s Bhojraj Naag. “Owing to fear of losing the Antagarh seat, the BJP has misused the official machinery,” said senior Congress leader TS Singhdeo.
The only candidate in the fray, Roopdhar Pudo, hinted that there was politics of inducement and intimidation. “I was also offered allurement and threatened but I remained firm in my resolve to contest”, said Pudo, without naming any party.
What made matters worse for the Congress was the rejection of the nomination papers of its dummy candidate and Pawar’s wife Sivata. In all, 10 independent candidates left the fray.
The BJP has termed the allegations as baseless. Chief minister Raman Singh said his party was not keen to comment on an ‘internal strife’ of the Congress. “They left the poll fray. But we take every election seriously,” said the CM.
Some political analysts appeared to see a conspiracy. “It’s no contest at all now with the BJP facing no challenge,” political analyst Kanak Tiwari told HT.