Fear of poaching haunts Chhattisgarh parties
RAIPUR FEAR of cross-voting in the presidential poll is haunting both Chhattisgarh’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and opposition Congress even as both sides on Tuesday sought to complete preparations for the visit of their respective candidates to the state.
Congress’ state unit president Nandkumar Patel said: “As of now there is no impact of factors like ‘tribal’ and ‘non-tribal’ on Congress ranks as far as the presidential poll is concerned, but the overtures of the ruling side to woo opposition legislators is disturbing.” On the other hand, BJP state president Ramsevak Paikra asserted that the Congress’s bid to paint the image of his party as an antitribal entity will not succeed in Chhattisgarh.
“Our ranks are united and solidly standing behind P A Sangma, a tribal and an experienced ex-parliamentarian.” Senior Congress leader Arvind Netam, who has already been suspended for defying the party line, and senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha member Nand Kumar Sai are lobbying for Sangma under the banner of Adiwasi Mahasabha as 26 legislators of BJP and 10 of Congress are tribals.
According to political observers, though cross voting by a few legislators of either side will hardly have any telling effect on the outcome of the presidential poll result, poaching into each other’s territory will certainly give them a tactical edge in sending message to the people ahead of 2013 Assembly poll.
Meanwhile, Congress leaders remained busy on Tuesday in preparations to accord a grand reception to UPA presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee, scheduled to visit Raipur on Wednesday.
Mukherjee will meet Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party legislators at a local hotel.
The BJP-backed Sangma will visit Raipur on Thursday to seek support of BJP legislators and parliamentarians.
Congress has 39 legislators in the state assembly, a lone Lok Sabha member Charandas Mahant besides two Rajya Sabha members.
Two BSP lawmakers will also vote for Mukherjee as party supremo Mayawati has already pledged her support to him.
BJP, on the other hand, has 50 legislators, 11 MPs (Lok Sabha) and three Rajya Sabha members from the state.