Playing musical chairs
His party has complete confidence in his charisma and vote getting abilities. He is often referred to in BJP circles as ‘Chhattisgarh’s Vajpayee’. Pradip Maitra reportsindia Updated: Nov 15, 2008 01:23 IST
His party has complete confidence in his charisma and vote getting abilities. He is often referred to in BJP circles as ‘Chhattisgarh’s Vajpayee’. His integrity and humility are both much admired. At election meetings local nominees long for him to endorse them as ‘my candidate’.
Yet chief minister Raman Singh does not seem to have much faith in his ability to keep winning his own seat. Or else why does he keep changing it with every election?
In the 1990 and 1993 assembly polls, when Chhattisgarh was still a part of Madhya Pradesh, Raman Singh contested from the constituency where he has his home - Kawardha, now in Western Chhattisgarh – and won both times. But after his shock defeat from this seat in the 1998 polls, he never went back there.
When he had to contest an assembly seat again – in a 2004 byelection, after being named chief minister following the BJP’s victory in the 2003 assembly polls – he chose Dongargaon. This time he has shifted to Rajnandgaon, leaving both Kawardha and Dongargaon well alone.
“He is a very good man. But he cares for the whole state and has not given enough time to his own constituency,” said Somnath Soni, a Rajnandgaon trader. “That must be the reason he is shifting.”
But Rajnandgaon too is not a cakewalk for Raman. “His main opponent, sitting MLA Uday Mudaliar of the Congress works very hard and is always available,” acknowledged Jugalkishore Lodha, a Rajnandgaon resident and BJP supporter. He noted that the BJP had lost the Rajnandgaon Lok Sabha seat in the last general election.
“I had studied in Rajnandgaon and my home town Kawardha was once under the Rajnandgaon district. What’s the harm if I am contesting from Rajnandgaon?” Raman Singh retorted.