Janjgir-Champa: BJP Braces for Challenge as Cong Exudes Confidence Post Assembly Triumph

The Congress aims to seize the Janjgir-Champa Lok Sabha seat, reserved for Scheduled Castes, despite losing the recent state polls to the BJP. The BJP counters, relying on PM Modi's schemes and development initiatives. Congress' Shivkumar Dahariya and BJP's Kamlesh Jangde are contesting. Issues include pollution, unemployment, and irrigation. The BJP's vote share rose in assembly segments despite losses, while the BSP has a significant presence. The constituency faces challenges of environmental pollution, youth migration, and the need for irrigation expansion.

PTI | Janjgirchampa | Updated: 06-05-2024 17:03 IST | Created: 06-05-2024 17:03 IST
Janjgir-Champa: BJP Braces for Challenge as Cong Exudes Confidence Post Assembly Triumph
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Buoyed by its victory in all assembly segments in the Janjgir-Champa Lok Sabha constituency last year, the Congress is confident it will wrest from the BJP Chhattisgarh's only parliamentary seat that is reserved for Scheduled Castes.

However, the BJP says the voting pattern here differ vastly in state and parliamentary polls and they will be able ride out the Congress challenge on the strength of various welfare schemes and development works implemented under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

While the Congress lost the 2023 Chhattisgarh state polls to the BJP, it managed to win all eight assembly segments under the Janjgir-Champa Lok Sabha constituency, the only parliamentary seat in the state reserved for Scheduled Castes.

Across the state, the Congress maintained hold over seats having sizable SC population -- winning six of the 10 assembly seats reserved for SC candidates.

In this LS polls, the Congress has fielded SC leader and former state minister Shivkumar Dahariya from Janjgir-Champa, where polling will be held on May 7. The BJP has dropped its sitting MP Guharam Ajgalley and fielded woman leader Kamlesh Jangde.

Dahariya unsuccessfully contested this seat in 2009.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), having a significant presence in the constituency, has fielded former zila panchayat member Rohit Dahariya.

This agriculture-dominated constituency derives its name from Janjgir-Champa district, carved out from Bilaspur district in 1998.

Located in the heart of Chhattisgarh, Janjgir-Champa is known as the city of 'kosa' (silk), 'kansa' (bronze utensils) and 'kanchan' (gold jewellery) for the trading and manufacturing of these products.

Congress' Janjgir-Champa district unit vice president Vivek Singh Sisodia told PTI that voters here are fed up with rising prices and the ''dictatorial'' attitude of the Modi government, and will teach the BJP a lesson this time around.

The Congress will replicate the assembly poll performance in the region and win the Janjgir-Champa seat, he added.

State BJP social media in-charge Prashant Singh Thakur said though his party lost all the eight assembly segments in Janjgir-Champa, it will win the Lok Sabha seat as the voting pattern in the region has been different in the state and general polls to the Lok Sabha.

The BJP's vote share in the eight assembly segments increased compared to the previous polls, he said, attributing shift of the BSP voters to the Congress as one of the key reasons for the saffron party's loss.

''We are getting a huge response from people during campaigning over schemes like Mahtari Vandana (monthly financial assistance to women), paddy procurement at higher price and other guarantees fulfilled by the Vishnu Deo Sai-led state government in just 100 days of its formation,'' Thakur said.

''Also, people have faith in PM Modi and are ready to give him a third straight term for the country's development,'' he said.

While the BJP is banking on 'Modi ki Gaurantee' during its campaign, the Congress is focusing on its 'nyay' guarantees.

Vivek Mohan Agrawal, a local who is an assistant professor at a government college, said Janjgir-Champa has been struggling with the problem of industrial pollution, which is not affecting only people's health but also impacting biodiversity.

Farmers have since long been demanding expansion of the Hasdeo Bango irrigation project, which will boost crop production in the region, he said.

Instead of focusing on these issues, the rival sides have been hurling allegations against each other, he added.

Local political-analyst Komal Shukla said more than one lakh people have migrated from the region to other states for jobs and it is one of major issues of concern.

Also, issues like air pollution and water contamination due to the release of fly ash from power plants and water from coal washeries in Akaltara, Janjgir and Champa assembly constituencies are likely to impact the poll results, he said.

Around 35 villages in Baloda tehsil under Akaltara and various villages in Kasdol and Bilaigarh assembly segments have been facing lack of irrigation facilities, Shukla claimed.

Janjgir was earlier a general seat. It became Janjgir-Champa (SC-reserved) seat in 2009 after delimitation.

The BJP won it in 2009, 2014 and 2019. In 2019, BJP's Ajgalley defeated Congress candidate Ravi Bhardwaj.

BJP's Kamla Devi Patle won this seat in 2009 and 2014. In 2009, she defeated Congress' Shivkumar Dahariya.

Some prominent leaders contested from Janjgir when it was a general seat.

BSP founder Kanshi Ram contested his maiden Lok Sabha polls from Janjgir in 1984 in the then undivided Madhya Pradesh.

Though he polled 32,135 votes as an independent candidate and stood at the third position in the traditional Congress bastion, it helped the BSP to create a base here, but it could not consolidate its hold further.

In the last assembly polls, BSP's sitting MLAs Keshav Prasad Chandra and Indu Banjare, from Jaijapur and Pamgarh assembly seats respectively under the Lok Sabha constituency, faced defeat.

BJP stalwart late Dilip Singh Judev, from the erstwhile Jashpur royal family, won the Janjgir Lok Sabha seat in 1989 but suffered defeat in 1991.

Karuna Shukla, the niece of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, won the seat in 2004 on BJP's ticket defeating Congress' Charandas Mahant.

Former Union minister Mahant, currently leader of opposition in the state assembly, won the seat in 1998 and 1999.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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