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It's photo finish in Raipur's crucial constituencies

Pradip Kumar Maitra , Hindustan Times  Raipur, November 18, 2013
First Published: 22:35 IST(18/11/2013) | Last Updated: 17:46 IST(7/12/2013)

Two ministers, a lawyer, a businessman, a seasoned politician, angst and anti-incumbency — the mood in the four constituencies of Raipur city is a heady mix of suspense and elation.

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Grapevine has it that Raipur North and Raipur Rural are two sure-shot wins for the Congress, thanks to a weak BJP nominee in one and non-performance in the other.

The real thriller would play out at Raipur South and West, where two sitting BJP ministers are in the fray. In the first, all eyes are on mayor Kiranmayi Nayak of the Congress, who is taking on the BJP’s five-time winner PWD and tourism minister Brijmohan Agrawal, and people rate her chances high. Why the constituency would suddenly ditch Agrawal is not clear, but the overall grouse of scam taint, insipid governance, bad infrastructure, growing traffic troubles, and plain anti-incumbency might have something to do with it.

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Party insiders claim Agrawal has persuaded 22 Muslims and one Dalit to stand as independents so they might cut the minority and Dalit votes. But Nayak is confident. “Agrawal’s brothers are into extortion and his corrupt record is well known. People are fed up,” she said.

In Raipur West, housing minister Rajesh Munot, who has held fort for a decade now, is apparently going neck and neck with his Congress rival, Rahul brigade member Vikas Upadhyay. The minister has been accused of being involved in a multi-crore scam over the allotment of a mall contract, something that is expected to affect his poll prospects.

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