Presidential poll: Congress deflates Chhattisgarh leader’s tribal card

July 4th, 2012 - 2:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Raipur, July 4 (IANS) The tribal card played by senior Congress leader Arvind Netam in favour of opposition presidential candidate P.A. Sangma will not impact on the voting pattern of party legislators in Chhattisgarh, the state Congress chief says.

“Absolutely, there is no chance of cross-voting in Congress ranks in the presidential poll. Netam is getting isolated even in his own family,” state Congress president Nandkumar Patel told IANS.

Netam, a former union minister, has been repeatedly appealing to tribal legislators to vote for Sangma, a candidate of the Adivasi Mahasabha even as the Congress suspended him on June 28 for defying the party line.

Sensing the possibility of of cross-voting, top state Congress leaders like Nandkumar Patel, Leader of Opposition Ravindra Choubey, union minister Charandas Mahant, and AICC general secretary in-charge of Chhattisgarh B.K. Hariprasada, who were in Jagdalpur attending a two-day workers training camp June 29-30, also held separate meetings with tribal leaders to gauge their intentions.

Hariprasada reportedly had extensive discussions with tribal leaders who participated in the camp. According to state Congress sources, most of the tribal leaders assured him of their cooperation during the presidential poll. Even the family members of Netam participated in the camp and assured their cooperation.

Once assured of no cross-voting, the Congress will now spare more time to try to alienate Netam among the tribals and also keep a tab on his leanings towards the Bharatiya Janata Party, sources said.

Arvind Netam, an ex-MP from Bastar, and his wife Fulo Devi Netam, ex-legislator of Kanker, are not part of the electoral college.

Meanwhile, after the Jagdalpur camp, Congress leaders are engaged in preparation for the Raipur visit of UPA presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee, who will arrive here July 11. He will meet Congress MPs and legislators from Chhattisgarh as a part of his campaign for the July 19 presidential poll.

He is also likely to meet two Bahujan Samaj Party members of the Chhattisgarh assembly to seek their support.

The Congress, which has 39 legislators, including 10 tribals and one member each of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha from Chhattisgarh, wants to make sure that all its members cast their votes in Mukherjee’s favour.

(N.K. Mishra can be contacted at mishrank05@gmail.com)

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