Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh), Nov 18 (IANS) Congress Lok Sabha member and former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi and his wife Renu Jogi seem to be on a comfortable wicket in the Marwahi and Kota assembly constituencies in Bilaspur district that go to the polls Nov 20.
Jogi's confidence could be understood from the fact that he has not addressed a single election meeting in Marwahi or in Kota where his wife is contesting on the Congress ticket.
Congress star campaigner Jogi has covered as many as 80 constituencies of the state's total 90, but he did not find it necessary to go to Marwahi or Kota. Polling for 39 seats concluded in the first phase Nov 14 and it would be held Nov 20 for the rest of the 51 seats, while the result will be out Dec 8.
'Kota is a seat the Congress has never lost. It doesn't matter Jogi's wife contests or anyone else, people have always preferred the Congress and the trend will continue,' Lokesh Sahu, a hosiery shop owner in the Ratanpur area under the Kota constituency, told IANS.
A housewife in the populous Pendra area of Kota, Rajni Devi, said: 'Madam (Renu Jogi) enjoys good respect here, she always gives a patient hearing to our problems. This is not just my view, a majority of people say so.''
But the candidate from the state's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) here, Mulchand Khandelwal, claimed: 'There is a strong wave across the state in favour of the BJP and Kota will not be an exception. This time, the Congress will lose here. '
Renu Jogi had resigned as a government doctor and contested an assembly by-election from Kota in late 2006 to launch her political career. She won the seat by a margin of about 22,000 votes despite all out efforts of the BJP to defeat her.
The BJP had held the Marwahi seat until early 2001, but the party was stunned when its sitting legislator, Ramdayal Uike, vacated the seat for Ajit Jogi to contest for.
Jogi comfortably won the seat in a by-election and also in the 2003 elections by a record margin against the BJP's tribal face, Nandkumar Sai. This time the BJP has fielded Dhayan Singh Porte to contain Jogi.
But even BJP insiders claim Porte is a weak candidate considering Jogi's sway over Marwahi and only a miracle here can help the BJP.
The Jogis' lone son, Amit Jogi, has taken command of campaigning in Kota and its neighbouring Marwahi with a team of his trusted friends to ensure a comfortable victory for his parents.
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