In order to counter BJP’s challenge, the Opposition Congress, bringing caste-card into play has fielded a candidate from Lodi community – Kamleshwar Varma. The face-off between Varma and Abhishek in Rajnandgaon has been tagged as contest between Hal (plough) and Mahal (palace).

Besides, folk singer Seema Kaushik is also trying her luck this time around from the prestigious seat.

It’s being said that Abhishek is almost certain to make it to Parliament riding on the ‘Modi wave’ and his father’s clean image but there are several regional issues as well which will play a decisive role in determining the difference between win and loss.

In 2009, BJP had won Rajnandgaon seat by a whooping margin of 1, 19,074 votes but the recently held assembly elections in the state has ‘revealed’ the new avenues of challenge for the saffron party.

Out of eight assembly seats in Rajnandgaon, both Congress and BJP got four seats each. BJP emerged triumphant in Rajnandgaon, Dongargarh, Pandaria and Kawardha seats, while Congress won Khairagarh, Dongargaon, Khuji and Mohla-Manpur seats.

Raman Singh enjoys such a clout in Rajnandgaon Lok Sabha region which is similar to Nehru-Gandhi dynasty’s grip in Amethi. It needs to be mentioned here that Raman kicked-off his political career 15 years back in 1999 from this very seat by trouncing Congress heavyweight Motilal Vora. He has been a two-time Rajnandgaon MLA. He won Kawardha seat as well.

Taking these points into consideration, this seat is not new for Abhishek Singh. He had campaigned for his father in 2013 also. The Chhattisgarh Chief Minister has initiated a number of developmental works in this region in the past few years as well and one can get distinct glimpse of the development which took place in Rajnandgaon. Besides, one can also ‘experience the feel’ of the seat being ‘VIP’ while taking a ride in the streets. The roads are well-decorated with flowers and lamps.

On the other hand, Congress candidate Kamleshwar is a farmer and has been the member of Zila Panchayat. He belongs to the Lodi community and is eyeing to bag the vote shares of backward communities.

The people of Rajnandgaon are upset over the fact that Congress is contesting elections on the plank of caste. Suresh Daklia, a Hockey player, said that the people of this area never exercised their franchise on the basis of caste and the way Congress is contesting the polls on this issue is inappropriate.

JPN/Bureau

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