Haze prevails over Chhattisgarh CM's seat

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Raipur, Oct 9 (UNI) Speculation is rife in Chhattisgarh's political circles as the constituency from where Chief Minister Raman Singh will contest the year-end assembly polls is yet to be decided.

Bharatiya Janata Party workers in Dr Singh's hometown Kawardha -- from where he contested earlier -- unanimously proposed his name three days back before a BJP team that went to solicit their opinion vis-a-vis candidate selection but panels in Rajnandgaon district's Dongargaon and Rajnandgaon constituencies also forwarded only the Chief Minister's name.

It is now believed that the party high command would determine the seat only after eliciting Dr Singh's opinion.

''I will not contest from more than one constituency at any cost.

People will have to await the party decision to know which seat I will contest,'' the Chief Minister told UNI.

The 'people' are rather excited about his constituency this time round as Congress Working Committee Member, parliamentarian and former chief minister Ajit Jogi has declared that he will contest against Dr Singh. If such an eyeball-to eyeball confrontation actually takes place then it will truly be a clash of titans.

During the 2003 hustings, Dr Singh did not contest as he was then discharging the responsibility of the BJP's state President. Later, he successfully fought the by-election to Dongergaon that was vacated by Mr Pradeep Gandhi. The Chief Minister won by a margin exceeding 10,000 but political observers considered it a small one.

Sources said that Dr Singh wished to contest the by-poll from his traditional bastion Kawardha from where he was elected in 1990 and 1993 in undivided Madhya Pradesh. But as luck would have it, the seat was in Congress control at that juncture. About one-and-a-half years back, despite the Chief Minister's campaigning, the Congress nominee secured a lead in the Lok Sabha by-election at Rajnandgaon.

UNI AS-AC 1943

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