Campaign heats up in Chhattisgarh as Jogi, Raman hit the hinterlands

November 4th, 2008 - 4:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyRaipur, Nov 4 (IANS) Campaign for the first phase of polling in 39 constituencies in Chhattisgarh Nov 14 picked up Tuesday with ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s star campaigner and chief minister Raman Singh and Congress key campaigner Ajit Jogi hitting the state’s hinterlands. The constituencies going to the polls include 12 insurgency-hit segments of the state. Chhattisgarh has a 90-seat assembly.

Jogi, in his chaste local Chhattisgarhi dialect, asked the people at a rally in Mahasamund district to count even a single achievement of the BJP government. He appealed to them not to again commit the Nov 2003 mistake of voting out the Congress government led by him.

Jogi, for whom the party has hired a chopper for statewide tours, asked the people: “yeh sarkar labra aur beiman hai, tohni manla eka bhagana hai (this government is very corrupt, you have to throw it out).”

Referring to rising violence in revolt-hit Bastar region, where about 1,100 persons were killed since 2004, including 726 civilians, the wheel-chair bound Congress leader said: “Chhattisgarhia adivasi manla yeh sarkar bemaut marbaye hai (innocent tribal people were butchered during the present government).”

Raman Singh, meanwhile, is seeking one more opportunity to rule the state to accelerate the pace of development.

Addressing a public meeting Tuesday in Bastar region’s Kanker district, Singh said: “yeh sarkar apan barsughar hai, ye la haman phir lana hai (you have to bring this government again because it’s a good government).”

Both Jogi and Raman Singh are drawing good crowds at their public meetings, leaving political analysts confused about the voters’ mood.

The BJP is claiming that the State has witnessed impressive development during its rule while the Congress retorts that development took a backseat.

The first phase of polling will be held for 4 seats in Mahasamund district, three in Dhamtari, 12 in Durg, two in Kawardha, six in Rajnandgaon, three in Kanker, five in Bastar, two in Dantewada district and one each in Bijapur and Narayanpur.

The election commission has changed polling hours for Bastar region’s 12 seats with polling to begin at 7 a.m. and conclude at 3 p.m. with a view to giving extra hours to polling parties to move away before sunset from troubled areas.

The voting for rest of the seats will be held between 8 a.m and 5 p.m.

The second phase of polling is slated for Nov 20. In all, there are 6,797,600 electors in the state.

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