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Education minister Satyanarayan Sharma seems to be a relaxed man, now that he got a Congress re-nomination, he has orchestrated the withdrawal of nomination by the BSP nominee.

india Updated: Nov 28, 2003 15:05 IST

Chhattisgarh Minister for Education, Satya Narayan Sharma is now a relaxed man. After spending sleepless nights since a couple of months, Sharma heaved a sigh of relief when he succeeded to get nominated as party candidate from his constituency Mandirhasod despite opposition. As a last minute coup he has also suceeded in orchestrating the withdrawal of BSP candidate from his constituency.

A section of Congress leaders organised several OBC conventions in this constituency in the recent past and there was a constant demand that Sharma be dropped and an OBC from the party be given a ticket.

But Sharma, who won consecutive four terms from Mandirhasod, managed the party nomination. As soon as his name was announced, several party rebels, particularly from OBC filed their nominations against him.

But now the picture has changed. Forget the rebels, he even managed to withdraw the BSP candidate. The BSP used to eat into at least 5,000 Congress votes in every Assembly elections. The pro-Dalit party had fielded one Bal Krishna Agrawal, a city builder cum hotelier and a close associate of chief minister Ajit Jogi. But at the eleventh hour he withdrew his nomination.

Similarly, the SP had fielded a candidate who did not deposit his B-form, thanks to the veteran Congress leader’s maneuvering. It seems that luck has favoured the education minister this time.

His main rival and the BJP nominee Shobharam Yadav is a low-profile politician and a new entrant. His nomination has created a considerable resentment among the rank and file in the BJP. The resentment came to the fore when the national BJP general secretary, Pramod Mahajan addressed a public meeting in favour of him at Mandirhasod on Wednesday and the party could not mobilise even 1,000 people for the meeting.

Sharma, who was feeling that the NCP could snatch a sizable traditional Congress votes, got another shot in arm when the NCP nominee, Pramod Tiwari, suffered from slip disk and now he had to campaign in the constituency in an ambulance.

However, it would not be a cake walk for Sharma as he has been representing the constituency since 1985 and could not fulfill several promises.

On the other hand, the BJP is banking on the NCP. It feels that if the NCP could get over 5,000 Congress votes, its candidate has a chance.

First Published: Nov 25, 2003 18:42 IST