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BJP banking on new faces to win in Chhattisgarh

Anand Mishra | November 13, 2008 16:46 IST

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With the Congress not projecting a chief ministerial candidate in Chhattisgarh, the strategy could win more votes for the party this time while the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party tries to overcome the anti-incumbency factor by bringing in new faces.
Veteran Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh [Images] chief minister late Shyamacharan Shukla's home constituency, Rajim is no exception where his son is locked in a battle with a local  youth leader fielded by Bharatiya Janata Party in the former Congress bastion.
The constituency goes to polls on November 20 in the second phase of the elections. People had in the last election voted here primarily on anti-Ajit Jogi plank and the Congress' policy of not projecting any chief minister could well work to the party's advantage, say observers.
Votes of the Sahu community, a deciding factor in the constituency, had last time gone en block to BJP although they had been traditionally voting for Congress.
In a goodbye to the "sitting getting the ticket" formulae, BJP struck off MLA Chandulal Sahu, who had won this seat against Shukla with a margin of around 12 thousand votes last time, from the candidates' list.
The party instead chose to trust an independent Santosh Bhartiya to attract young voters, which have a large presence in the constituency.
The party hopes to cash in on the easy approachability of the youth leader, who had once unsuccessfuly fought the election against the father of Amitesh Shukla.
The gentleman image of the state Chief Minister Raman Singh could add as a back-up for Upadhyaye.

"Amitesh Shukla will win the seat if Congressmen put up an united face. If the groupism remains in the party, BJP's Chandrashekhar Sahu though less visible in the constituency can walk to victory," says an Life Insurance Corporation agent from Nayapara, P D Sharan.
Chandrashekhar is a former member of Parliament from the BJP. He has lost the assembly elections from this constituency the last three times but hopes to be lucky the fourth time.
"After losing the seat for three times, he stands a good chance here as residents feel the need for some sort of a change here," says a farmer from Dussera village in the constituency Ganga Ram.
The Congress candidate had won the last assembly election against Chandrashekhar with a wafer thin margin of 227 votes.
Rohit Patel from the Vaishya dominated village Tuta, however, argued that when Congress could win the seat during last election when the general mood was against the then Chief Minister Ajit Jogi, it could win the seat this time too.
With BSP candidate Shailendra Singh Tomar expected to play a spoilsport, it remains to be seen who among the Congress and BJP candidates suffers the most.

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