Killer malaria may upset Jogi?s poll calculations | india | Hindustan Times
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Killer malaria may upset Jogi?s poll calculations

In the charged poll atmosphere in Chhattisgarh, an unlikely issue has cropped up in the district of Sarguja- The killer Malaria. The disease which claimed 1000 lives last year, could sway the voters' mood.

india Updated: Nov 30, 2003 18:05 IST

In the charged poll atmosphere in Chhattisgarh, an unlikely issue has cropped up in the district of Sarguja, which could sway the voters' mood.

People of the district have been battling cerebral malaria, a fatal disease that claimed 1,000 lives last year alone. To add insult to the injury, there has been a total apathy of the local administration to the issues of health and sanitation in the villages of this district.

Till October this year, there were 16,777 reported cases of cerebral malaria. B.N. Srivastava, who heads the district administration's anti-malaria drive, says the situation could worsen in December.

And this could worsen the Congress' hopes of retaining six of the assembly constituencies that Sarguja is made up of. To compound the matters, there is the unseen hand of the People's War Group and the Maoist Coordination Centre. The outfits consider almost all political outfits as their class enemies and have called for a boycott of the polls in five constituencies declared by them as a ''guerrilla zone''. These groups have a ''fearsome'' presence in this zone.

Add to this the anti-incumbency factor, an upper-caste bias against chief minister Ajit Jogi and factionalism within the Congress and you have a recipe for a surprise BJP victory.

The Congress is likely to garner a substantial portion of the tribal vote (adivasis constitute over 53 per cent of Sarguja's populace).

But if people's anger is any measure of the way the electoral pendulum might swing, the party might find it tough to retain Lundra, Samri, Pali, Surajpur, Ambikapur and Premnagar. The other two constituencies are Pilkha and Sitapur. All the eight seats are reserved seats.