Congress keen to prevent BJP hat-trick in Bilaspur


Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh) : Despite two repeated defeats, a top aide of Congress leader Ajit Jogi is contesting the assembly elections from Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh, in a desperate attempt to prevent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Amar Agrawal from scoring a hat-trick.

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Congress sources disclosed that though Anil Tah suffered successive defeats, former chief minister and senior state leader Ajit Jogi got him a ticket by lobbying for him with the party central leadership.

Tah, who lost to Agrawal in 1998 and 2003, told IANS: “I am not going to repeat this time the strategic mistakes which I did in the last two contests.” In 1998, Bilaspur was part of undivided Madhya Pradesh before Chhattisgarh was carved out of it in 2003.

“People of Bilaspur trusted him and hoped Agrawal will improve civic facilities in the city, but things worsened though he was a high-profile minister in the BJP government,” Tah said.

Agrawal, who is son of the state BJP’s senior leader Lakhiram Agrawal, claims he has an easy task ahead and is set to win a third time because of “allround improvement of civic amenities at Bilaspur town.”

Bilaspur, the second most populous city of the state after capital Raipur where the Chhattisgarh High Court is also based, has roughly 1.90 lakh voters.

The constituency with 50 others goes to polls Nov 20 in the second and final phase of elections. The state has a total 90 seats and polling was held for 39 seats Nov 14. Bilaspur seat is dominated by other backward class (OBC) population.

“Tah is considered a nice human being but you can’t ignore the works done by Agrawal. He may not be easily accessible to people but he did a lot of development here as a minister,” Ajay Nayak, 32, a mechanic based at Nehru Nagar, opined.