Old rivals to fight on new Chhattisgarh turf

March 23rd, 2009 - 3:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Raipur, March 23 (IANS) Karuna Shukla, the niece of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, will battle it out again for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) against old rival Charandas Mahant of the Congress in Chhattisgarh - but she may not be on very firm ground this time.
Shukla, the BJP national vice-president, and Mahant, the state Congress working president, fought a close contest in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls in Janjgir constituency. Shukla defeated Mahant by over 11,000 votes.

But since the Janjgir seat has been reserved for Scheduled Castes due to a delimitation exercise, both have moved to a new place, Korba.

“I will again overcome the Congress challenge and record a convincing win on the basis of my good relationship with voters plus my performance as an MP during the past five years,” Karuna Shukla told IANS.

However, party sources say Shukla did not want the Korba seat and was keen on Bilaspur where she is more popular. Besides, Mahant hails from Korba and may stand a better chance of winning.

State Congress president Dhanendra Sahu said: “This time Mahant will win easily. Even Karuna Shukla was reluctant to contest from Korba, sensing a possible defeat, but her party fielded her there.”

Chhattisgarh’s 11 Lok Sabha seats will see polling April 16.

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