Cong fo­cus on LWE-hit Bastar dis­trict for win­ning Ch­hat­tis­garh

Sunday Express - - INDIA - E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E

AS cam­paign­ing for phase 1 of polling in Ch­hat­tis­garh came to an end on Satur­day, Con­gress’ poll man­agers talked up hope of the party main­tain­ing its edge in the cru­cial Bastar re­gion.

The Con­gress, which won 8 out of 12 assem­bly seats in the nax­alaf­fected Bastar re­gion in the 2013 polls, hopes to get 10-11 seats this time, rid­ing on the three term anti-in­cum­bency against the rul­ing Bharatiya Janata Party.

“We will do well in Bastar re­gion,” said a se­nior AICC func­tionary su­per­vis­ing the cam­paign in Ch­hat­tis­garh.

Bastar, said sources, in­di­cates the trend in Ch­hat­tis­garh, which is largely a tribal state. The rul­ing BJP’s tally had come down from 11 in the 2008 polls to just 4 in the 2013 polls. “The BJP govern­ment stopped tribal devel­op­ment pro­grammes in Bastar,” said a se­nior Con­gres leader, adding that the pre­vi­ous UPA’s plan of `30 crore for each tribal dis­trict was also shelved by the Ra­man Singh govern­ment.

“There is heavy ex­o­dus from the area. Women suf­fer due to hu­man traf­fick­ing and mal­nu­tri­tion is wide­spread among chil­dren,” the leader said.

The Mahila Con­gress, led by its na­tional pres­i­dent Sush­mita Dev, too, ran an ex­ten­sive cam­paign in the Bastar re­gion to con­vince women vot­ers to get their fin­gers inked in favour of the party.

Con­gress man­agers said the party did well in the re­cent pan­chayat polls in the state and bagged about 70 per cent of the seats.

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