Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Three gets lifer in Jhaliyamari gangrape incident


13 victims to get compensation of Rs seven lakh each
Raipur, October 30
In a historical verdict, a fast track court (FTC) in Kanker, Chhattisgarh on Wednesday awarded life sentence to three out of eight accused in Jhaliyamari gangrape case. The court has further announced five-year imprisonment to two accused officials and three-year imprisonment to three more convicts for hiding evidence. Besides, it has imposed fine of Rs 500 each on all eight accused. It has also instructed State government to give compensation of Rs seven lakh each to the families of 13 rape victims. The FTC’s decision came in ten months. It recorded statements of 90 witnesses during this period.
The two main accused - contractual teacher Mannulal Goti and watchman Dinanath Nagesh were charged of gangraping tribal girls for over two years while the third accused - hostel warden Babita Markam did not put the matter before higher authorities despite knowing about it.
The gangrape case in village Jhaliyamari under Narharpur block, some 37 km away from Kanker district hadquarters, came to fore in January 2013. After probe, Goti and Nagesh were made main accused while Markam, another contractual teacher Sagar Katlam, block education officer (BEO) SS Navarji, assistant BEO Jeetendra Nayak, Jhaliyamari sarpanch Sukalu Netam and panch Lachchuram Salam were made co-accused in the matter.
The girls’ hostel is located next to primary school in Jhaliyamari. 43 girls, aged 6-13 years, were residing in the hostel. All the girls hailed from five villages adjoining to Jhalliyamari. There are only three rooms in the hostel. The girls lived sans basic facilities like toilets, beds, potable water, etc. Since, warden Markam never stayed at night in hostel, Goti and Nagesh gangraped tribal girls for over two years.
The girls first complained about sexual abuse against them to Nagesh’s wife. Since Nagesh himself was involved in the gangrape case, his spouse posed silence. The girls then sought help from Markam .but she too put a deaf ear towards them.
When the matter reached to gram panchayat, a meeting was called in August 2012. The panchayat simply imposed fine of Rs 5000 each on Goti and Nagesh and the entire matter was brushed under the carpet. Nagesh paid the fine and continued sleeping in hostel, while the Goti did not comply with gram panchayat’s verdict, though he stopped visiting hostel.
The matter somehow reached to BEO Navarji and ABEO Nayak, but the duo refrained from taking action against Goti and Nagesh even when they found allegations against the accused to be true after investigation.
Eventually, when Kanker Collector received a phone call about sexual harassment of the minors, she instantly constituted a team of woman officials to inquire into the reports. The girls confided in the officials when they visited. Following this, Goti and Nagesh were arrested on January 5, 2013. On the following day, all the girls were taken to Kanker for their medical check-up.
The State’s politics flared up after this incident. The ruling BJP drew flak from all nook and corners of the nation. Later, the national ST commission, in its report, said the State’s ashram schools lacked basic facilities and children were compelled to live in unhygienic conditions. The report directly held the State government responsible for gangrape case. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Chhattisgarh polls: BJP, Cong heavyweights aim to win with high margin again


Raipur, October 29
While a couple of opinion polls predicting BJP’s landslide victory in Chhattisgarh assembly polls and Congress negating pre-poll voter-pulse-testing methodology,  some of the political heavyweights in the two parties are rolling up their sleeves to once again win their seats with record-high margin. In 2008, former CM Ajit Jogi from Congress topped the list of winners with huge margin while BJP CM Raman Singh stood fourth.
In previous elections, among 90 MLAs, 11 had won with over 20,000 vote margin. Besides CM, the other BJP candidates who appeared in the big league were Rajni Tripathi, Siddhnath Paikra, Brijmohan Agrawal, Kedar Kashyap and Saroj Pandey. While, apart from Jogi, the Congress candidates who featured in the list were Nandkumar Patel, Ramdayal Uike, Rajkamal Singhania, Gurmukh Singh Hora and  Paresh Bagbahra.
Though Jogi, who had won from Marwahi by defeating BJP’s Dhyan Singh Porte by margin of 42,092 votes, has been replaced by his son Amit this time, his supporters are confident of recreating history in the constituency as junior Jogi has been toiling at grassroot level for last four-five years to establish himself as a politician.
Amit has already proved his poll management skills during Youth Congress and NSUI elections as his effective strategies helped Jogi supporters to win three quarters of the total posts in two frontal organisations of Congress. The BJP has dumped Porte and fielded new face Sameera Paikra against Amit.
BJP’s Rajni Tripathi was second among winners with big margin. She contested bypolls in 2010 after demise of her spouse who was legislator from Bhatgaon. Tripathi defeated Congress candidate US Singhdeo by 34,862 votes. The party has once again shown trust on her.
Tripathi was followed by former state Congress president Nandkumar Patel who got killed during May 25 naxal attack on Congress convoy in Bastar. Patel trounced BJP candidate Laxmi Devi Patel by 33,428 votes to win from Kharsia. The seat is vacant since his demise. The congress has given ticket to Patel’s son Umesh from the constituency and hopes that he would post thumping victory with sympathy wave in his favour.
CM Raman Singh was fourth in the list of winners with high margin. He had defeated former MLA Uday Mudliyar from Congress by margin of 32,389 votes to post his maiden victory from Rajnandgaon. Since Mudliyar too was victim of May 25 naxal attack, the Congress has fielded his spouse Alka to cash in on sympathy wave in the region. Earlier, it was rumoured that the CM would change his seat but he firmly clarified that he would contest from Rajnandgaon.
The political pundits have already fixed their eyes on this seat and have started surmising about the fate of CM and his opponent Alka Mudliyar. While the CM will have pressure to win the seat again by bigger margin, Alka will simply have to defeat the former to make a record.
In 2008, there were five candidates who won by margin of less than 1000 votes. Among these, BJP minister Vikram Usendi won by mere 109 votes from his Congress opponent Mantu Ram Pawar in Antagarh. This time Usendi will face challenge from Congress candidate Deepak Baij.
Congress candidate Kawasi Lakhma too had won from Konta by small margin of 192 votes. He defeated BJP’s Padam Nanda. This time, BJP has pitted new face Dhaniram Barse against Lakhma.
The other winners with vote margin less than 1000 were – Jaisingh Agrawal from Korba – 587; Hemchand Yadav from Durg City, 702 and TS Singhdeo from Ambikapur – 948.

Winners with highest margin in 2008
Winners
Party
Seat
Margin
Ajit Jogi
Congress
Marwahi
42,092
Rajni Tripathi
BJP
Bhatgaon
34,862
Nandkumar Patel
Congress
Kharsia
33,428
Dr Raman Singh
BJP
Rajnandgaon
32,389
Siddhnath Paikra
BJP
Samri
30,499
Ramdayal Uike
Congress
Pali Tanakhar
29,443
Rajkamal Singhania
Congress
Kasdol
27,206
Gurmukh Singh Hora
Congress
Dhamtari
27,007
Brijmohan Agrawal
BJP
Raipur South
24,939
Paresh Bagbahra
Congress
Khallari
22,505
Kedar Kashyap
BJP
Narayanpur
21,635
Saroj Pandey
BJP
Vaishalinagar
21,267

Monday, October 28, 2013

Chhattisgarh polls: Three more MLAs fail to figure in BJP’s second list


Party denies ticket to total 13 legislators
Raipur, October 28
Making evident that performance is the only benchmark to obtain ticket for its sitting MLAs, the ruling BJP has ignored candidature of three more legislators while releasing second list of 21 candidates for upcoming polls in Chhattisgarh. The party has by far denied ticket to total 13 sitting MLAs out of 50 in 90-member State legislative assembly.
According to information, the three MLAs Phoolchand Singh from Bharatpur-Sonhat, Neelima Singh Tekam from Doundi Lohara and Dr siyaram Sahu from Kawadha were found inappropriate for ticket because they had not only lost connection with local party workers but also common mass.
With its first list featuring 67 names, the party has announced 88 candidates while names for two seats, i.e. Sitapur and Vaishalinagar will be finalised in next couple of days.
In the second list, the party has featured 11 new faces. The number of youth in the list is 12. The party’s first list contained 34 youth including 20 fresh faces. Apparently, the party aims to maintain its winning streak against Congress by pitting total 51% youth and 34% new faces in polls.  
However, the party once again showed reluctance in distributing sufficient tickets to females. The number of women candidates in its second list is just five while six had been announced in the first installment. The total ticket share of women in the party is merely 12%. Senior leader Karuna Shukla, who has recently resigned from BJP, too had pointed that the party simply boasts of giving fare share to females, but none had been appointed as general secretary or secretary in state organisation.
The second list further comprises of five ST and one SC candidates. The party had earlier given tickets to 23 ST, nine SC and 17 OBC candidates. By far, the reserved candidates have got 61% tickets in BJP.
The new MLAs who got ticket are Roshan Lal Aggarwal, Raigarh; Sameera Paikra, Marwahi (ST); Chunnilal Sahu, Khallari; Naveen Markande, Arang (SC); Sharvan Markam, Sihawa (ST); Dr Jawahar Nayak, Kharsia   ; Dr Kailash Sahu, Jaijaipur; Champadevi Pavel, Bharatpur-Sonhat (ST); Moti Ram Chandravanshi, Pandariya; Shyamlal Maravi, Pali Tanakhar (ST) and Horilal Ravate, Doundi Lahara (ST).
The sitting MLAs who managed to obtain berth are Renuka Singh, Premnagar; Rajni Tripathi, Bhatgaon and Narayan Chandel, Jajgir-Champa.
The party also gave chance to four former MLAs - Punam Chandrakar, Mahasamund; Shivratan Sharma, Bhatapara; Inder Chopra, Dhamtari and Ramsheela Sahu, Durg Rural.        
Besides, the second list contains party’s old warriors Santosh Upadhyay, Rajim; Ashok Sahu, Kawardha and Avdhesh Chandel, Bemetara. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

AB Vajpayee’s niece Karuna Shukla quits BJP


Raipur, October 26
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s niece Karuna Shukla on Saturday resigned from BJP alleging that power politics dominated the party in state and staunch workers like her had nothing to do in such adverse circumstance. Shukla’s decision is considered as major setback for the party ahead of polls as it is already assaying to conciliate disgruntled aspirants who have been denied ticket.
“The people in power have hijacked the organization. The state unit is now steered by just two-three persons,” she said alluding to BJP president Rajnath Singh, CM Raman Singh and party’s joint general secretary (organization) Saudan Singh.
Shukla has been MLA from Balodabazar twice and MP from Janjgir-Champa. She has also served the party as national vice president. Besides, she was national head of the BJP Mahila Morcha. Currently, she was member of party’s national executive body.
In 2008, Shukla had expressed desire to contest assembly polls from Beltara seat, but the party pitted Badridhar Diwan from there. She said despite her reluctance she was compelled to contest Lok Sabha elections from Korba against Congress candidate Charandas Mahant. The state leadership had then promised her that she would get significant post in the organization if she fails to win.
The party, however, did not keep its word. She was not only removed from the core group but also ignored during constitution of state poll committee. Her name did not even flash in the list of observers to filter potential poll candidates.
 “I served the party for 32 years in different capacities. Now, it seems the party does not want me anymore. The party has sidelined me completely. I feel alienated in current scenario and hence I am quitting,” she said.
“The BJP is no more the party of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani. I had been to New Delhi some 15 days back. I talked to Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Murli Manohar Joshi about the state unit’s attitude towards me. I also sought appointment from party chief Rajnath Singh and waited for five days, but he did not give me time. I was feeling insulted in the party and had no option than to part ways from its,” she said.
When pointed that BJP national general secretary and Chhattisgarh incharge JP Nadda was confident of sorting out the matter and brining her back in the party, she said it was too late and she would never return in the saffron brigade. She, nevertheless, maintained that she would remain politically active.
When asked about her future plans she said currently she would like to spend time with her family. “Right now, I do not have any future plan. I will take decision about my political career after sometime,” she added.

Friday, October 25, 2013

This poll season, bartering liquor for votes will not be easy


Raipur, October 25
With poll fever gradually gripping Chhattisgarh and Election Commission (EC) concomitantly becoming austere, the political parties, who usually adopt age-old cult of bartering liquor for votes, are compelled to discover novel methods to influence voters this time as the commission has decided to monitor flow of alcohol during the festival of democracy through a special observer.
During elections, liquor has always been the easiest mode to woo impoverished class which invariably outnumbers middle and upper crust in terms of turnouts. Alcohol has actually become intact part of poll management. In Chhattisgarh, there has been marked rise in liquor consumption during polls. To prevent such malpractices and ensure that people cast their vote in full control of their mind, but not under any political party’s influence ,the EC will take stringent measures this time.
The average legal sale of alcohol in state is estimated to be around Rs 10 crore per day while illegal sale too is equally high. There are three distilleries and eight bottling plants in state. The Chhattisgarh beverage corporation has two godowns, in Mandir Hasaud under Raipur and Lingiyadih under Bilaspur. Besides, there are 27 warehouses. As the state will have two rounds of polls on November 11 and 19, all these places will be under camera surveillance till conclusion of second phase of polls.
The special observer has been directed to closely monitor production, distribution and sales channels of alcohol and prepare daily report of liquor consumption in state. The commission has directed all the five poll-bound states to appoint official on deputation from other states as special observer. In Chhattisgarh, the job has been entrusted to Santosh Kumar Mishra, an IAS of 2000 batch from Tamil Nadu cadre. He is in deputation in Chhattisgarh for five years since 2012. He will hold the post of special observer till December 11.
According to information, the state will forbid liquor sale two days (48 hours) before polling date. Earlier, on demand of political parties, chief election commissioner VS Sampath had sought state government’s opinion pertaining to prohibition of liquor sale at least seven days before polling date but the latter, pointing massive revenue loss, agreed for just two days. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Chhattisgarh polls: Is Jogi a hidden CM candidate of Congress?


Raipur, October 24
If you talk about Chhattisgarh politics, willy nilly, you cannot write former CM Ajit Jogi off. For past 13 years, he has been focal point of state politics – be it for good or bad reasons. Once dubbed as synonym of Congress in state, Jogi is presently the organization’s bête noir. His opponents in the party were shell-shocked when the high command recently made him convener of state unit’s poll campaign committee. Though he is not in fray in ensuing polls, his new role carries encrypted message that he could be a hidden CM candidate for whom any of the supporter will vacate his seat if Congress gets clear mandate.
The party has although appointed AICC treasurer Motilal Vora as chairman of poll campaign committee, the octogenarian is less likely to play active role in the hustings and his task will rather be confined to striking a balance between Jogi and rest of state Congress.
Jogi, on the other hand, after becoming convener of the poll campaign panel made it evident that the upcoming polls would be fought between him and the ruling BJP. CM Raman too feels that people will compare his as well as Jogi’s tenures before making their mindset to favour any party.
Jogi’s opponents in the party are surprised by his fresh assignment. Just a couple of months back, the scene was different. When Maoists killed over 30 Congress leaders in Bastar on May 25, few in the party in suppressed voice and the ruling BJP alleged of Jogi’s hand in the attack. Since then, 10 Janpath became inaccessible for him. The state unit also alienated him for his parallel party activities.
Peeved by the party’s attitude, Jogi started organizing rallies in every assembly constituency and projecting his local supporters as potential poll candidates. His opponents complained against him to party supremo Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi. They wanted him to be expelled. However, Gandhis refrained from talking to Jogi in this matter and instead engaged a few senior leaders to bring truce between him and the state organization.
Meanwhile, it was rumoured that Jogi, backed by several Congress MLAs, will float a new party before polls. Jogi, however, denied of any such possibility and expressed his faith over Gandhis. Eventually, his patience turned into reward when the party leadership summoned him to explain about his poll preparations and victory propositions.
It is learnt that convinced by Jogi’s argument, the party gave tickets to 35 of his loyalists out of total 62 candidates announced for polls. Jogi has reportedly demanded 50 tickets. Since the party is yet to declare 28 more names, he has reasons to smile as few more of his supporters might appear in the last list.
In last five years or so, Jogi’s son Amit has toiled hard at grassroot level to beef up his and his father’s position in party politics. Raising local as well as major burning issues, Amit took out foot march in every assembly constituency during this period. This is how he succeeded in spread-eagling Jogi family’s domain to each nook and corner of the state. Presently, over half of the party legislators trust Jogi. Besides, almost three quarters of YC and NSUI posts are held by his supporters.
More importantly, the high command showed magnanimity towards Jogi because the latter confidently claimed victory of his recommended candidates. According to information, it is his confidence which prompted the national leadership to assign broader task to Jogi to not only ensure victory of his supporters, but also of other party candidates and as a quid pro quo he has been promised the CM post.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chhattisgarh polls: Maoists plan to target VIPs, rallies through suicide bombers


Raipur, October 23
Following the vestige of terrorist outfits across the globe, the Maoists are planning to target VIPs and public rallies through their newly trained suicide bombers during the hustings in Chhattisgarh. The Intelligence Bureau (IB) has reportedly alerted Chhattisgarh police about this development and asked to frame proactive strategy to thwart any such attempt of the insurgents.
According to information, the naxals have used expertise of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to prepare 41 suicide bombers. The LTTE members reportedly imparted rigorous training of suicide attack to naxals in the forests of Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. The LTTE is said to have pioneered suicide bomb jackets. It was also the first terrorist outfit which used females as suicide bombers.
Highly placed sources in police headquarters admitted that the ultras had chalked out plan to attack star campaigners of the political parties this time. “The naxals aim to specifically target public rallies as they have already asked tribals to boycott elections,” they said.
With beginning of October, the naxals intensified their activities in Basar hinting that they would not allow peaceful conduction of polls in the region. They had even pasted posters of PM Manmohan Singh, CM Raman Singh and other leaders with caustic comments in certain villages. After the poster episode, the police escalated searching operations in those areas.
Notably, the first round of polls will be held in 12 assembly constituencies of Bastar division and six of Rajnandgaon district on November 11. The Maoists have presence in almost 14 of these constituencies.
Having faced obloquy once earlier this year for its intelligence failure that resulted in May 25 naxal attack on Congress leaders in Darbha region under Bastar division, the state home department does not want the history to repeat again and hence, taking IB report seriously, has instructed state intelligence bureau and other intelligence agencies to keep an eye on naxal activities.
DGP Ramnivas has appealed to the political parties to provide comprehensive information about their public rallies and movements in Maoist-hit areas in advance so that the police could make security plan for them accordingly.
Sources informed that the police will also constitute several road-opening parties to prevent ultras to lay ambush on roads when political parties will start their campaign.
It is learnt that about 450 companies of paramilitary forces will reach Bastar division by next week. Already, 41 battalions are present in the region to counter naxal movements. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Chhattisgarh polls: BJP rides on tainted public reps to make a hat trick


Raipur, October 22
It takes years to build an image and just seconds to damage it. Though, the ruling BJP in Chhattisgarh was well conversant with this fact when it came to power for the first time back in 2003, it made little efforts in preaching its public representatives to practice fair politics. Consequently, loads of BJP public representatives are struggling to prove that they are clean-imaged in the backdrop of allegations including grafts, irregularities, misconduct against them.
Strangely, despite knowing the fact that anti-incumbency factor would be high after ten years of its regime, the party did not do image-makeover exercise by replacing the tainted faces with fair-imaged ones ahead of polls. In fact, the party seems least bothered about image factor and is rather pinning extra hope on these tainted figures to beckon voters and make a hat trick in state.
In two terms, the party obliged its stalwart leaders by giving them baton of boards and corporations. Many of the BJPians became members of these organizations. Exercising its discretionary power, the party also placed BJPians in civic bodies, janpads, panchayats, mandis and cooperative societies as office-bearers.
After getting posts, the BJPians were expected to serve people. For this, the government sanctioned massive budgets at regular intervals for their organizations. Unfortunately, majority of these public representatives turned into contractors, suppliers and mediators and started consolidating their own financial condition instead of working for masses.
In doing so, these representatives distanced themselves from the party workers. In the organizational meetings, CM Raman Singh did express his concern over the attitude of these representatives, but neither the party nor his government succeeded in taming them.
The ruling party faced embarrassment due to its ministers too as they frequently hogged the limelight for wrong reasons.
Recently, PWD and school education minister Brijmohan Agrawal had launched offensive against chief secretary Sunil Kumar and even sought his removal from the CM. Kumar became victim of Agrawal’s ire because he had urged CM to handover inquiry of furniture scam, surfaced in school education department, to CBI. Kumar did this because during the scam he was looking after school education department as an additional chief secretary.
The WRD minister Ramvichar Netam has also given intermittent jolts to the government through his queer activities. He is alleged to have opened covert campaign against the CM by uniting tribal MLAs. In the recent past, he had slapped one government official in Bilaspur.
He is also alleged to have accepted kickbacks to the tune of Rs two crore from manager of Indira Priyadarshini Bank to cover an embezzlement case wroth Rs 56 crore. The bank manager alleges that the CM and other ministers Brijmohan Agrawal, Rajesh Munat and Amar Agrawal had also received kickbacks in this case. Netam is the sole minister in Raman Singh cabinet whose portfolios were changed continuously due to his controversial activities and poor performance.
The tribal welfare minister Kedar Kashyap too failed to meet party’s expectations as the infamous gangrape incident in an ashram (resident) school in Jhaliyamari under Kanker district had put the government on defensive. The principal opposition Congress raised the matter prominently in Vidhan Sabha as well as in streets. The ashram schools are being operated under tribal welfare department. Ironically, despite knowing about the incident, Kashyap went on foreign tour. His reckless attitude showed his as well as the government’s impassive face.
Industries and housing and environment minister Rajesh Munat, though enjoys proximity with the CM, keeps on putting the government on backfoot either for thrashing an industrialist, misbehaving with the partymen and common people or for being allegedly involved in different scams.
Agriculture minister Chandrashekhar Sahu is charged of harassing an employee of krishi mandi committee. The employee later committed suicide leaving a note in which he blamed Sahu for his death.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Chhattisgarh polls: BJP chants NaMo mantra to target young voters


Raipur, October 21
While BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi (NaMo) and Congress scion Rahul Gandhi (RaGa) want to tap young voters in ensuing assembly polls in five states as well as in 2014 general elections for their parties by promising to put more number of youth in the battlefield, the former seems taking edge over the latter in terms of keeping word as is obvious from BJP’s much-awaited first list of poll candidates in Chhattisgarh where 34 out of 67 are young.
Before appearing with final names in its first list, the state BJP did ample exercise on each seat and considered every aspect from experienced candidate to youth to social engineering to caste factor.
This is the reason, the party decided not to frustrate its ministers. However, as anticipated, it took bold decision and replaced ten of its sitting MLAs with young ones. In the first installment, the party has given chance to 20 new faces. Meanwhile, the party did not forget tingeing caste hue in its diversified list and featured 23 ST, nine SC and 17 OBC candidates. The names of six women in the list, nonetheless, confirm that BJP is not a staunch support of raising women’s quota in Vidhan Sabhas and parliament.
The BJP also failed to prove itself as a party with difference as it followed the bandwagon and picked candidates pleasing some and annoying others instead of evolving consensus of the majority. Eventually, it is drawing flak from disgruntled ticket aspirants including ten sitting MLAs who have been dumped.
Immediately after announcement of the first list, sizable chunk of the frustrated lot indicate of rebelling from the party and contesting polls as an independent candidate.
However, the BJP’s first strategic list is said to have flummoxed principal opposition Congress which will now be under psychological pressure while releasing its subsequent list of candidates. The Congress has already announced 18 candidates and is yet to finalize names for 72 seats. On the other hand, the BJP’s second list of remaining 23 candidates might come in next couple of days.
The young and new lot that appeared in the first list of BJP include Shyam Bihari Jaiswal, Manendragarh; Rajsharan Bhagat, Jashpur (ST); Rohit Sai, Kunkuri (ST); Shivshankar Sai, Paththalgaon (ST); Suneeti Rathiya, Lailunga (ST); Kerabai Manhar, Sarangarh (SC); Jogesh Lamba, Korba; Lakhan Dewangan, Kathghora; Kashi Sahu, Kota; Tokhan Sahu, Lormi; Dinesh Singh, Akaltara; Khilawan Sahu, Sakti; Ramlal Chouhan, Saraipali (SC); Roopkumari Choudhary, Basna; Srichand Sundrani, Raipur City North, Sanwalram Dahire, Ahiwara (SC); Sarojini Banjare, Dongargarh (SC);  Dinesh Gandhi, Dongargaon; Vijay Sahu, Khujji; Bhojesh Shah, Mohla-Manpur (ST); Satish Lathiya, Bhanupratappur (ST); Sanjay Kadopi, Kanker (ST), Dhaniram Barse, Konta (ST), Gowardhan Majhi, Bindranawagar (ST); Pritam Sahu, Sanjari-Balod; Raju Singh Kshatriya, Takhatpur; Yuddhveer Singh Judev, Chandrapur; Laxmi Baghel, Balodabazar; Lata Usendi, Kondagaon (ST); Kedar Kashyap, Narayanpur (ST); Baiduram Kashyap, Chitrakot (ST); Bhima Mandavi, Dantewada (ST); Mahesh Gagda, Bijapur (ST) and Anurag Singhdeo, Ambikapur;
The other candidates who feature in the list are Bhiyalal Rajwade, Baikunthpur; Ramsewak Paikra, Pratappur (ST); Ramvichar Netam, Ramanujganj (ST); Siddhnath Paikra, Samri (ST); Nankiram Kanwar, Rampur (ST); Punnulal Mohle, Mungeli (SC); Dharamlal Kaushik, Bilha; Amar Agrawal, Bilaspur; Raman Singh, Rajnandgaon; Badridhar Diwan, Beltara; Dr Krishnamurthy Bandhi, Masturi (SC); Dr Sanam Jangde, Bilaigarh (SC); Gaurishankar Agrawal, Kasdol; Devjibhai Patel, Dharsiva; Nande Sahu, Raipur Rural; Brijmohan Agrawal, Raipur City South; Rajesh Munat, Raipur City West; Chandrashekhar Sahu, Abhanpur; Ajay Chadrakar, Kurud; Vijay Baghel, Patan; Hemchand Yadav, Durg City; Premprakash Pandey, Bhilai Nagar; Dayaldas Baghel, Nawagarh (SC); Komal Janghel, Khairagarh; Vikram Usendi, Antagarh (ST); Sewak Ram Netam, Keshkal (ST), Subhau Kashyap, Bastar (ST), Santosh Bafna, Jagdalpur, Vijaynath Singh, Lundra; Ambesh Jangde, Pamgarh (SC); Omprakash Rathiya, Dharamjaigarh (ST) and Labhchand Bafna, Saja.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Swami Avimukteshwaranand inaugurates Sankara Diagnostics


Raipur, October 20
Swami Avimukteshwaranand Saraswati Maharaj, desciple of Jagat Guru Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati Maharaj, on Sunday inaugurated Sankara Diagnostics with ultras-modern facilities at Raipur, Chhattisgarh. On the occasion were present Metro India chairman CL Rajam, managing director Vijaya Rajam, PWD minister Brijmohan Agrawal, BJP MLA Siyaram Sahu, Sankara Diagnostics CEO Dr Nishant Tiwari and others.
In his address, Swami Avimukteshwaranand said Sankara Diagnostics would prove as boon for people of Chhattisgarh as they would not have to move to other states for advanced tests.
“Besides, the patients will not have to shell extra bucks on travel and stay as the test facility will be at their doors in their own state,” he added.
Terming Andhara Pradesh as his birth place and Chhattisgarh as his karmabhoomi (work place) Metro India chairman CL Rajam said he was glad to see Sankara Diagnostics being established in tribal-populated state. He said the centre would provide all facilities under one roof at affordable rates. He informed that the centre would be connected to renowned medical experts across the world.
Metro India MD Vijaya Rajam said the objective of setting up the centre at Raipur was to provide best of the facilities in terms of medical tests. “We hope that the people suffering from different problems and availing facilities of Sankara Diagnostics may return home having smile on their face,” she added.
Conveying his best wishes to the team of Sankara Diagnostics, the PWD minister Brijmohan Agrawal said such centre was desperately required by people of Chhattisgarh.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

24% lawmakers in Chhattisgarh are youth


Raipur, October 19
In last one decade, there has been a paradigm shift in the mindset of modern-day voter who has started believing that young brigade is capable enough to steer country’s politics. Chhattisgarh, a 13-year-young state, is best reflection of the voters’ latest inclination as its 22 legislative constituencies are represented by youth. This young lot forms 24% of the 90-member state legislative assembly.
The political parties, which are experiencing transition in the present era in the backdrop of their retiring warhorses and second rung leaders coming to forefront, too seem mesmerized by the new buzzword – ‘youth power rocks’ as they are giving considerable preference to young workforce in the system.
However, during polls these parties suddenly resort to ancient cult of picking candidates on the basis of their experience in politics.
This happened in Chhattisgarh too where large parties like BJP and Congress were way behind Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in terms of fielding youth (below 40) in 2008 assembly elections. As compared to BSP’s 51 young candidates, the BJP and Congress had pitted 22 and 14 respectively.
Nevertheless, the winning percentage of BJP and Congress was higher than that of BSP. While shares of BJP and Congress were 63% (14 seats) and 42% (six seats), the BSP’s stake was merely 4% (two seats).
Interestingly, out of total 1066 candidates in fray, 543 were youth which is 51% of the total contenders, an apparent indicator that not only large parties but even small and regional parties too attempted to cash in on ‘youth formula’ to make inroads for victory.
The youngest candidate in 2008 polls was Mahesh Kumar Panagar (21) from Chhattisgarh Vikas Party. He contested for Pandaria assembly seat, but stood last among total nine contestants by securing just 939 votes.
The 14 winners from BJP were Deepak Kumar Patel, Raju Singh, Narayan Chandel, Yuddhveer Singh Judev, Laxmi Baghel, Neelima Singh Tekam, Saroj Pandey, Ramji Bharti, Bramhanand, Lata Usendi, Kedar Kashyap, Baiduram Kashyap, Bhima Mandavi and Mahesh Gagda.
Narayan Chandel is presently deputy speaker in state assembly. Saroj Pandey later contested general elections and won from Durg constituency. After becoming MP, she resigned from the post of MLA. The party rewarded tribal youth Kedar Kashyap and Lata Usendi as CM Raman Singh inducted them in his cabinet. Presently, Kashyap is tribal development minister and Usendi is women and child development minister. Two other candidates Yuddhveer Singh Judev and Mahesh Gagda are parliamentary affairs secretaries.
The six winners from Congress were Ramdev Ram, Amarjeet Bhagat, Hriday Ram Rathiya, Padma Ghanshyam Manhar, Shiv Kumar Daharia and Guru Rudra Kumar.
The two winners from BSP were Saurabh Singh and Doojram Boudh. Saurabh Singh joined Congress a few months back.

Friday, October 18, 2013

33% MLAs are crorepati in Chhattisgarh


Raipur, October 18
Though Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has decided to clean up the politics by eschewing money power and seeking votes for its clean-imaged and financially humble candidates purely on account of their merits, the political parties in rest of India think elections should be fought in traditional manner by putting aside ethics and morals and using every tactic including the power of currency to win. Perhaps, this is the reason Chhattisgarh has 33% crorepati (billionaire) legislators.
The political parties prefer to give ticket to crorepati candidates because the latter not only incur their own poll expenditure but also give funds for financially weaker, but winnable candidates.
In 2008 assembly elections, 15 from BJP and 29 from Congress were in fray. The total number of crorepati candidates in polls was 66. The crorepati club features 28 MLAs, i.e. 11 from BJP including CM Raman Singh and 17 from Congress including former CM Ajit Jogi.
Surprisingly, CM Raman Singh is in the bottom of the elite club with the total asset value of slightly over Rs one crore. Singh’s movable assets worth Rs 62.35 lakh including about Rs 13 cash and jewelleries worth Rs 18 lakh. He had bank deposites and investments worth over Rs 28.50 lakh. His immoval assets worth Rs 42.50 lakh including agricultural lands worth Rs 20.95 lakh, one property in his hometown Kawardha and one duplex house at Raipur. He does not own any vehicle. His has no liability.
Besides, home minister Nankiram Kanwar health minister Amar Agrawal and WRD minister Ramvichar Netam too feature in crorepati club with asset value over Rs one crore. Chhattisgahr legislative assembly Speaker Dharamlal Kaushik also have asset worth Rs 1.78 crore.
The legislator who was ranked first in the club was former state Congress president Nandkumar Patel with total asset value of over Rs 37 crore. Notably, Patel lost his life during May 25 naxal attack. His seat is presently vacant. The congress has given ticket to his son Umesh to carry forward his legacy. Patel’s movable assets worth Rs 29.69 lakh including Rs 5.80 lakh cash and jewelleries worth Rs 5.45 lakh. His immovable assets  worth Rs Rs 36.72 crore  including agriculture lands worth Rs 27.40 lakh, two properties worth 21 lakh at Raigarh, one property at Raipur worth Rs 13.94 lakh and one property at Bhopal worth Rs 36.10 crore. His liabilities include house and car loans worth Rs 16.16 lakh.
In the crorepati club, Patel is followed by seven more Congress MLAs with high asset value. They are Rajkamal Singhania – over Rs 10 crore, Gurmukh Singh Hora – over Rs 6 crore, former CM Ajit Jogi, Dr Renu Jogi and Amitesh Shukla – over Rs 4 crore each and Jai Singh Agrawal, Paresh Baghbahra and Congress legidlators’ party leader Ravindra Choubey -  over Rs two crore each.
The richest BJP MLA is Neelima Singh Tekam whose assets value is Rs two crore. The other BJP legislators with over Rs one crore asset are Dr Krishnamurti Bandhi, Nandkumar Sahu, Phoolchand Singh, Raju Singh and Yuddhveer Singh Judev.
The Congress MLAs who have assets above Rs one crore are  Agni Chandrakar, Mohammad Akbar, Amarjeet Bhagat , Chaitram Sahu, Devendra Bahadur Singh, Dr Shakrajeet Nayak, Dr Premsai Singh Tekam, Korba and Kuldeep Singh Juneja.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Chhattisgarh polls: BJP, Congress have no qualms in fielding tainted candidates


77 candidates with crime cases contested in 2008, 11 won

Raipur, October 17
In the backdrop of high-voltage drama in national capital with Supreme Court asking the Centre to disqualify convicted lawmakers by making a law while the latter refusing to do so and rather brining an ordinance to protect tainted elected representatives only to buckle down before scathing remarks of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and withdrawing the ordinance, it is less likely that the political parties in Chhattisgarh will take any lesson from this episode as they indicate of having no qualms in distributing tickets to candidates with criminal background, provided they assure of their victory.
In 2008, the political parties had fielded 77 candidates (9% of the total candidates in fray) with crime cases of which 11 (13% of the total winners) got public mandate in 90-member Chhattisgarh legislative assembly.
Among 77 candidates, 23 belonged to BJP (13) and Congress (10). The remaining candidates were from different parties including SHS – 9, BSP – 4, SP – 3, CPI – 4, JMM – 3, CGVP – 5, GGP – 4, CVKP – 1, GMS – 1, CPM – 1, NCP – 1, RPI(A) – 1, ABHM – 1, BJHS – 1, JD(U) – 1 and CMM – 1. Besides, 13 independent with criminal record too were in fray.
Of the total convicted candidates, 40 were facing grave charges like murder under Indian Penal Code. 
Among the winners, six were from BJP and five from Congress. Interestingly, four each of the BJP and Congress were facing had serious charges against them.
The winners from BJP were Yuddhveer Singh Judeo - Chandrapur, Renuka Singh - Premnagar, Mahesh Gagda - Bijapur, Devjibhai Patel - Dharsiva, Bhima Mandavi - Kondagaon and Bhaiyalal Rajwade – Baikunthpur. The ruling party rewarded Judeo and Gagda by making them parliamentary affairs secretary while Patel became charmain of Chhattisgarh Beverage Corporation.
The BJP sources say that the party would not take risk in denying ticket to candidates like Yuddhveer singh Judeo, who is son of late MP from Bilaspur Dilip Singh Judeo, as he not only belongs to royal family but has large number of supporters in Jashpur belt.
The party, however, is upset with Renuka Singh who had recently adopted caustic tone against the government for inducting her in the system as a minister or head of any corporation or board. On the other hand, the party is scanning the performances of Bhiayalal Rajwade, Mahesh Gadga and Bhima Mandavi as they had spent very less time in their respective constituencies.
Another tainted winner Devjibhai Patel too is facing resistance from own partymen in his constituency for not carrying any development work there.
The winners from Congress were former CM Ajit Jogi – Marwahi, Dr Shakrajeet Nayak – Raigarh, Jai Singh Agrawal – Korba, Kawasi Lakhma – Konta and Paresh Bagbahra – Khallari.
In Chhattisgarh, Ajit Jogi represents Congress. He is close to high command and is member of Congress working Committee. In state, he has massive support. After May 25 naxal incident in Darbha region under Bastar, Jogi came into limelight as not only the BJP but the opponent in his own party were surmising of his involvement in the gruesome episode that killed over 30 Congress leaders. Since the recent past, the party supremo had maintained distance from him. It was rumoured that annoyed of being alienated, Jogi might float a new party before polls or he would be expelled due to his parallel party activities. However, nothing happened and he is again a strong contender from Marwahi, his bastion.
Among the other Congress candidates, Konta MLA Kawasi Lakhma had already got ticket while the party is still brooding whether to repeat Paresh Baghbahra, Dr Shakrajeet Nayak and Jai Singh Agrawal or not. While Baghbahra is said to have demanded cash from own party candidate to field him in civic body by-poll under Khallari assembly constituency, Nayak and Agrawal have reportedly lost trust of local partymen for not being active in their areas.

Chhattisgarh polls: 77 candidates with crime cases contested in 2008, 11 won


Raipur, October 17
In the backdrop of high-voltage drama in national capital with Supreme Court asking the Centre to disqualify convicted lawmakers by making a law while the latter refusing to do so and rather brining an ordinance to protect tainted elected representatives only to buckle down before scathing remarks of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and withdrawing the ordinance, it is less likely that the political parties in Chhattisgarh will take any lesson from this episode as they indicate of having no qualms in distributing tickets to candidates with criminal background, provided they assure of their victory.
In 2008, the political parties had fielded 77 candidates (9% of the total candidates in fray) with crime cases of which 11 (13% of the total winners) got public mandate in 90-member Chhattisgarh legislative assembly.
Among 77 candidates, 23 belonged to BJP (13) and Congress (10). The remaining candidates were from different parties including SHS – 9, BSP – 4, SP – 3, CPI – 4, JMM – 3, CGVP – 5, GGP – 4, CVKP – 1, GMS – 1, CPM – 1, NCP – 1, RPI(A) – 1, ABHM – 1, BJHS – 1, JD(U) – 1 and CMM – 1. Besides, 13 independent with criminal record too were in fray.
Of the total convicted candidates, 40 were facing grave charges like murder under Indian Penal Code.  
Among the winners, six were from BJP and five from Congress. Interestingly, four each of the BJP and Congress were facing had serious charges against them.
The winners from BJP were Yuddhveer Singh Judeo - Chandrapur, Renuka Singh - Premnagar, Mahesh Gagda - Bijapur, Devjibhai Patel - Dharsiva, Bhima Mandavi - Kondagaon and Bhaiyalal Rajwade – Baikunthpur. The ruling party rewarded Judeo and Gagda by making them parliamentary affairs secretary while Patel became charmain of Chhattisgarh Beverage Corporation.
The BJP sources say that the party would not take risk in denying ticket to candidates like Yuddhveer singh Judeo, who is son of late MP from Bilaspur Dilip Singh Judeo, as he not only belongs to royal family but has large number of supporters in Jashpur belt.
The party, however, is upset with Renuka Singh who had recently adopted caustic tone against the government for inducting her in the system as a minister or head of any corporation or board. On the other hand, the party is scanning the performances of Bhiayalal Rajwade, Mahesh Gadga and Bhima Mandavi as they had spent very less time in their respective constituencies.
Another tainted winner Devjibhai Patel too is facing resistance from own partymen in his constituency for not carrying any development work there.
The winners from Congress were former CM Ajit Jogi – Marwahi, Dr Shakrajeet Nayak – Raigarh, Jai Singh Agrawal – Korba, Kawasi Lakhma – Konta and Paresh Bagbahra – Khallari.
In Chhattisgarh, Ajit Jogi represents Congress. He is close to high command and is member of Congress working Committee. In state, he has massive support. After May 25 naxal incident in Darbha region under Bastar, Jogi came into limelight as not only the BJP but the opponent in his own party were surmising of his involvement in the gruesome episode that killed over 30 Congress leaders. Since the recent past, the party supremo had maintained distance from him. It was rumoured that annoyed of being alienated, Jogi might float a new party before polls or he would be expelled due to his parallel party activities. However, nothing happened and he is again a strong contender from Marwahi, his bastion.
Among the other Congress candidates, Konta MLA Kawasi Lakhma had already got ticket while the party is still brooding whether to repeat Paresh Baghbahra, Dr Shakrajeet Nayak and Jai Singh Agrawal or not. While Baghbahra is said to have demanded cash from own party candidate to field him in civic body by-poll under Khallari assembly constituency, Nayak and Agrawal have reportedly lost trust of local partymen for not being active in their areas.

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