Cong bypasses caste equations in Chhattisgarh

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Raipur, Nov 2 (UNI) The announcement of 86 Congress candidates in poll-bound Chhattisgarh made it clear that several surveys and caste equations were bypassed and only stalwart leaders' favourites succeeded in getting tickets.

By ensuring tickets for more than 60 of his supporters, former Chief Minister and MP Ajit Jogi proved that his old prowess was still not eroded in the high command. However, his rivals such as former Union minister Vidya Charan Shukla, Charandas Mahant and Mahendra Karma foiled his efforts to make caste equations the determinant in several seats and deprived others close to Mr Jogi from getting tickets.

Despite full-fledged efforts, Mr Jogi could not secure tickets for several confidantes such as his Political Secretary Shailesh Nitin Trivedi, Former Minister Manoj Mandavi and Tuleshwar Singh.

The latter two have bidden goodbye to the Congress while Mr Trivedi submitted nomination papers as an independent.

Infighting reached such a peak that Mr Jogi's opponent leaders attempted to prevent him from obtaining a ticket by arguing that he should assume the mantle of drumming up support across the state instead of contesting.

The Congress had said it would distribute tickets three months prior to the polls but by issuing a candidates' list late last night it proved that the Anthony Committee Report had no meaning for it vis-a-vis changing its style of functioning.

Even as surveys were progressing, came Congress President Sonia Gandhi's statement that instead of a ''quota system'' winnability would be the criterion for ticket distribution.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party accorded greater weightage to the Backward Classes, the Congress fielded four Agrawals and six brahmins in the second phase while the Backward Classes -- particularly the Sahu community -- were not given due weightage though Mr Dhanendra Sahu is Congress state President and it is alleged that his opposition prevented a Sahu community member from being given a ticket to one of the four seats of the state capital as was Mr Jogi's plan.

The BJP has fielded a Sahu from Raipur.

UNI AS-AC LS RAI1941

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