Raipur, 15 April. A political slugfest between the opposition BJP and the ruling Congress has ensued over the 10 Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) candidates for Assam assembly polls and some other leaders staying in Jagdalpur amidst surging corona blues. The saffron party slammed the Bhupesh government for its alleged enthusiasm in bringing the leaders from Assam despite a surging pandemic in the state.
Hoping a windfall victory in recently concluded assembly hustings in Assam, the grand old party has sent 10 candidates with a host of other leaders of its’ alliance to Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh to ward off horse-trading by the BJP, 22 a bigger batch of 22 candidates has been sent to Jaipur, the capital of Congress-ruled Rajasthan, where articulate and one of Congress’s sharpest political hand Ashok Gehlot rules the roost.
The ‘political-leisure trip’ however, has not gone down well in certain quarters with the opposition BJP questioning the move at a time when the corona explosion has taken the state’s caseload to the dubious second-highest position in the country. Former Chief Minister Raman Singh derided the grand old party for creating such a high-octane political drama based on false assumptions of its coming back to power in Assam.
BJP is coming to power comfortably in Assam, there will be no need for any other outside support for the party to form the government, he claimed. Congress should have faith in its alliance partners that they will not desert her after the results, he advised.
The 10 UPA candidates along with a host of senior Congress leaders have been placed in the Government Rest House in Chitrakote on the banks of the Indravati river in Bastar. A squad of police and other government officials take care of the visitors round the clock.
Former minister Dinesh Kashyap, who is the son of tribal stalwart and one of the pioneers of BJP in Chhattisgarh, Bali Ram Kashyap, also questioned the stay of Assam leaders at a time when the state is recording more than 15,000 coronae every day. Under which rule they have stayed in the government rest house, ignoring the section 144 imposed in the district, he asked.
Local dailies ran stories of the convoy of government vehicles ferrying UPA candidates from Assam traversing throughout the restive Bastar terrain and pictures of feasting and boozing.
Congress entered the electoral fray with an alliance with hardliner Badruddin Azmal led All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) for the Assam assembly polls. The Congress party fears that the BJP may try to woo its flock even before the poll results.
Citing the recent examples of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, and Goa health minister T S Singh Deo said that there can be no denying that horse-trading has become a new normal in politics today.