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Jabalpur's 'Vikas Purush'!

PTI | ByPress Trust of India, Jabalpur
May 01, 2004 02:01 PM IST

In Jabalpur, the Congress is projecting its nominee and city Mayor Vishwanath Dubey as the true title holder of "Vikas Purush".

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee may be touted as "Vikas Purush" by BJP all across the country, but here Congress is projecting its nominee and city Mayor Vishwanath Dubey as the true title holder of "Vikas Purush".

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Banking on his clean image and charisma and administrative skills, Congress is hoping to wrest this seat from BJP. The saffron party on the other hand, has fielded its Jabalpur (Rural) President Rakesh Singh against the 65-year-old Dubey.

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The 42-year-old Singh, who can be described as an organisational man, wields considerable influence over the rural areas of this district, known for its various military establishments.

He was pitted against the city Mayor in place of Jayashree Banerjee, who had won this seat for the saffron party in 1999 elections.

Dubey, known for his proximity to former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh, is son of former state assembly Speaker Kunjilal Dubey.

An Engineering graduate, Dubey established a poultry empire and was directly elected as Mayor of Jabalpur, at a time when BJP holds a majority in the civic body.

Singh, a Thakur, belongs to Prahlad Patel camp in BJP and is a soft-spoken and mild mannered person, and appears catching fancy of the youth of the region.

Though altogether 14 candidates are in the fray, the contest is likely to be straight between Dubey and Thakur.

Presence of Gondwana Ganatantra Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party nominees in the electoral arena might not change the electoral scales, political observers here feel.

Dubey, belonging to Brahmin community, which has over three lakh voters, is highlighting his achievements as a Mayor.

Claiming that he, if elected, would transform Jabalpur into an ultra-modern town, the Congress nominee squarely blames BJP for underdeveloped status of the city.

The BJP did nothing for this city, he claims and assures upgradation of the city airport, improving transport, establishing a garment complex to boost the textile industry, refurbishment of defence factory and enhanching agricultre and allied industries in the rural areas.

BJP is also not behind, the party claims that whatever development has been achieved it is mostly due to NDA regime.

The saffron party even came out with a vision document for Jabalpur to lure the voters, though promises made in the document are more and less similar to those made by the rival Congress candidate.

With Congress projecting Dubey as a leader having a clean image, the local BJP leadership is pointing out that the civic body has recently moved a resolution for an inquiry by Lokayukta into certain decisions taken by the Mayor.

"He (Dubey) is a total failure and is surrounded by corrupt persons", accused Ishwardas Rohani, a senior BJP leader of the state.

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