Wooing Voters Over Developed District Tag
Our Political Bureau
New Delhi: Jagdalpur has a long history that emerged prominently during the Pravir Bhanj Dev rule; he was the Maharaja of Bastar state before and after Independence. Dev, the first of Oriya ruler of the erstwhile tribal state, also won the Jagdalpur assembly seat during polls in the undivided Madhya Pradesh in 1957.
Over the years, the influence of Bastar state withered away among its people and in politics too. The rich legacy, however, has ensured that Jagdalpur remains the most developed of the seven districts of Bastar division, which are also described as the most affected Naxal areas. It's also the administrative headquarters of Bastar di- vision. For ages, the region was introduced as "rich lands’ for poor people". But successive governments have tried to develop the area to counter the dominance of Naxals. The efforts gathered some pace during the UPA II regime, and got a further boost from 2014 when the NDA came to power. PM Modi, who had devised a special package for the development of the Bastar region, read out figures during his maiden election rally in the district on Friday, and took credit for the "unparalleled work" done by his party, especially after it assumed power both at the Centre and state. The NDA government's greatest achievement here is the Jagdalpur airport, which was inaugurated by PM Modi in June this year to provide regional air connectivity under the UDAN scheme. A steel plant is also coming in Nagarnar, on the outskirts of the state.
The only general seat in the first phase of polling for 18 seats has all along been a BJP bastion, with the party winning handsomely electoral battles from 2003 -- which is after it was culled out as a separate state from Madhya Pradesh.
Santosh Bafna alone has represented this seat in Vidhan Sabha twice, in 2008 and 2013. He defeated Congress’ Rekhchand Jain and Shamu Kashyap in the last two elections, respectively.