This assembly election, AICC treasurer and Rajya Sabha member Motilal Vora has a fight on two fronts. He has to deal with the past electoral failures of his son Arun Vora and also justify his party’s expectation for fielding him a fourth time from Durg.
Arun had won the Durg seat in 1993 but has, since, lost three consecutive assembly elections. Rahul Gandhi’s stand on ending the role of ‘family patronage’ has clearly been set aside for him. “Arun got the party ticket but the prestige of his father, a Gandhi family loyalist is at stake,” said Anirudh Sharma, a political analyst.
The BJP’s Hemchand Yadav, is the sitting MLA. The Voras are relying on a possible anti-incumbency factor to assure a Congress win. A fresh challenge to the Congress and the BJP this time, is being posed by Rajendra Sahu of the Chhattisgarh Swabhiman Manch (CSM). Arun Vora hoped the CSM would eat into the BJP’s vote-share as the CSM founder, the late Tarachand Sahu, was earlier, a four-time BJP MP.
Yadav, an OBC, is banking on development and the caste factor. His constituents, even from outfits allied to his party, had complaints about him. “The BJP dreams of a hat-trick, but will see a ‘hate-trick’ in Durg,” Virendra Pandey, a senior RSS member, said. “We have not seen him here before the elections. Now he’s here to ask for votes,” Anil Kumar, a slum dweller, said.
Of the 58 wards of Durg, 33 are slums. “Half the population live in slums where Sahu is emerging as a popular choice,” said Aslan Sinha, a local scribe.