Tribal Christians hold the key in Pathalgaon

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Jashpur (CG), Nov 6 (UNI) The surprise entry of tribal Christian Hemlata Minj as Bahujan Samaj Party candidate gave an interesting twist to the compaigning in Pathalgaon (ST) reserved assembly constituency in Chhattisgarh's Jashpur district bordering Jharkhand.

Although there are seven candidates in the fray the main contest is likely to be among BJP's state President Vishnudeo Sai, seven time MLA and former minister Rampukar Singh (Cong) and Mrs Minj.

Mr Singh, who won all elections since 1977 except in 1990, had won last election with a narrow margin against Mr Sai.

Delimitation by which few villages of Kansabel and Farsabahar have been included in Pathalgaon is likely to give an edge to the BJP, according to political analysis.

Mr Sai also supported the demand for granting district status to Pathalgaon, which is at present part of Jashpur district divided into Kunkuri, Jashpur and Pathalgaon assembly segments.

Mrs Minj is banking on the support of the traditional BSP vote bank, besides Christians, who formed about twenty percent of the population.Tribals comprise half of this district's population.

Other candidates in the fray include Chhattisgarh Vikas Party's A B Tirkey, Communist Party of India's Rukhsaran Sai, Jharkand Mukti Morcha's Sanjay Tirkey and Puran Singh Sidar of Gondwana Ganatantra Party.

Since the constituecy is dominated by farmers and workers, who remain busy during day time, the candidates prefer door to door campaigning after sunset.

The constituency is having 1.74 lakh electorate.

UNI XC-BDG SP RL DS1632

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