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|November 21, 1998||
Rebels pose serious threat to Congress, BJP candidates in Chhatisgarh
Rebels in the electoral fray in Chhattisgarh region could change the equation against the official nominees of both the major parties --- the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The ruling Congress had to drop Derhu Prasad Dhritlahare from the cabinet after he refused to retire from the contest in Maro constituency of Durg district. Disgruntled over denial of a party ticket, he is now contesting as an independent.
Congress MLA Mayaram Negi is in the fray as an Ajaya Bharat Party candidate from Bhatgaon in Raipur district, after failing to get his party's nomination. In Bhilai, Urja Vikas Nigam chairman Bhajan Singh Nirankari, who is considered to be close to former chief minister Motilal Vora, is pitted against Congress nominee Badruddin Qureshi.
In Bilaspur town, senior Congress leader Anil Tah is contesting as an independent after the party preferred to nominate Krishna Kumar Yadav, son of former minister B R Yadav as its candidate.
The BJP too has its hands full with many rebels pitching in against its official nominees. In Balodabazar constituency, where Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's niece, Karuna Shukla is seeking re-election, party rebel Purushottam Sahu has thrown his hat in the ring.
Senior BJP worker Ratiram Sahu, is trying his luck from Abhanpur against Congress district president Ashok Bajaj.
In Rajim constituency, Congress rebel Santosh Upadhyaya is in the field as an independent against Congress veteran and former chief minister Shyama Charan Shukla, who is contesting for the eighth time. Congress workers, displaying resentment over the renomination of sitting member Radheshyam Sharma, had fielded Satish Agrawal in Bhatapara constituency as an independent against him.
Similarly in Dhamtari, BJP functionary Dwaraka Tarak is in the fray as an independent against party nominee and former minister Kriparam Sahu. The Congress has fielded a new face, Harshad Mehta in this constituency.
In Patan constituency of Durg district, where the Murmi voters were in sizeable number, three prominent candidates belong to that community. Senior Congress worker Keuram Verma is contesting as an independent against party MLA Bhupesh Bahel and BJP's Nirupama Chandrakar.
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