Raipur, April 12, 2011
Finally, the Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi has put a full stop on all the conjectures over the candidate selection for Bastar Lok Sabha seat and has given the baton to Konta legislator Kawasi Lakhma to bring back the party’s glorifying days in the tribal belt. But, with Lakhma being endorsed by senior party leader and MLA Ajit Jogi and the state unit Organisation failing to convince the national leadership for veteran leader Mahendra Karma’s candidature, it seems as if passion and indifference of the Congress workers would once again count during the hustings, of course this time in Bastar where the by-election is slated to be held on May 8, 2011.
During every election, the factions in the Congress intensify their activities and make every attempt to obtain ticket for their candidate. Once the prospect gets finalised from New Delhi, the winning faction resembles party’s dedicated part in the polls while the others sulk and disappear.
Carrying similar image about the senior party leaders and factions, the Pradesh Congress Committee’s (PCC) new incharge secretary V Hanumantha Rao during his recent visit had categorically instructed the workers that indiscipline of the individuals, camp loyalties and controversy-loving enthusiasts would not be tolerated. He urged all the partymen to shun polarisation and show united face in the Bastar by-poll.
However, habits are developed not to forget. In Congress, the factions have indicated that they would stick to their habit in the by-poll and have their own poll strategies irrespective of specific instructions from the party’s top brass. The PCC president Dhanendra Sahu and leader of Congress legislators in state Assembly Ravindra Choubey, who had strongly projected Karma as the apt candidate for Bastar LS seat, are now the most disgruntled lot after Jogi managed to get AICC chief’s nod for Lakhma.
Jogi’s proposal for Lakhma was accepted in spite of Sahu and Choubey’s excellent rapport with AICC treasurer Motilal Vora who was expected to play key role in recommending Karma. It is learnt that Vora, too, gave his silent support to Lakhma considering his bitter experience during the candidate selection for recent Sanjari-Balod Vidhan Sabha by-election on Sahu and Choubey’s recommendations. The Congress lost Sanjari-Balod seat, hence this time, Vora adopted calculative approach and picked Lakhma over Karma for the former’s active political role in Bastar region as legislator and latter’s long hiatus from politics.
Sources informed that the party supremo always takes inputs from Vora regarding Chhattisgarh Congress and she sought his suggestions in case of Bastar LS seat too which directly gave edge to Jogi over Sahu, Choubey and other camps in the state unit.
Jogi, who has got majority of the supporters in state’s Youth Congress and National Students’ Union of India besides having strong connection with tribal MLAs from the party, has clearly hinted that he had gut to make Lakhma victorious on his own might.
This has changed the power equations in the party. Now, whether the other factions would extend their support directly to Lakhma (i.e. indirectly to Jogi faction) or they would act subtly on the D-day, the party’s national leadership can only keep fingers crossed for positive outcome.