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Will BJP spoil Cong hat-trick in Chhattisgarh's Sitapur?

November 18, 2013 16:51 IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party may spoil a hat-trick of wins for the Congress from Sarguja's Sitapur assembly seat as the sentiment on the ground suggests that it could well be the anti-incumbency factor which rules the vote in Sitapur.

Although sitting MLA Amarjeet Bhagat, who has been for the last 10 years representing Sitapur in the Chhattisgarh assembly, is confident about the Congress sweeping the seat for a third straight term, the rival BJP candidate claims that all the signs portend a change.

"People have seen development work in the area... they will choose me again," states Amarjeet Bhagat. He had won the 2008 assembly polls by a margin of 1,722 votes over BJP's Ganesh Ram Bhagat, who had polled 34,579 votes.

The BJP candidate contesting Tuesday's election is Raja Ram Bhagat. He has promised a slew of development projects in the area if elected MLA, including construction of schools and colleges.

"I will also try to generate employment opportunities for youths in Sitapur," he said.

Sitapur is located close to Mainpat, a small hill station, and it is the area's tourism potential which is being seen as one of the keys to unlocking the economic fortunes of the people here. But that aspect is yet to receive proper attention, or so claim locals.         

"The area has huge potential for tourism. But our public representatives have not done anything to exploit its potential. Something must be done to develop a tourism industry here... That will also generate employment for us," said Seema, a local.

As many as 72 constituencies, including Sitapur, will go to polls in the second phase of assembly elections in Chhattisgarh on Tuesday.

Heavy security measures have been put in place in the Naxal-affected Sarguja area to secure the vote, officials said. Sarguja comprises three constituencies -- Lundra, Ambikapur and Sitapur.

BJP's Vijaynath Singh and Congress's Chintamani Singh are in the fray for Tuesday's poll in Lundra, where the latter party chose not to give the ticket to its sitting MLA, Ramdev Ram.

In Ambikapur, Congress MLA Tribhuneshwar Sharan Singh Dev, who is also the richest candidate with over Rs 560 crore in declared assets, is contesting against BJP's Anurag Singh Dev. Congress's Tribhuneshwar Dev had won the 2008 assembly elections by a margin of 948 votes over his rival Anurag, who polled 55,274 votes.

Ashwini Shrivastava