The only Congress parliamentarian from Chhattisgarh Charandas Mahant is trying hard in New Delhi to get a ministerial berth in the Manmohan Singh government, informed party sources.
The working president of the party’s state unit, Mahant trounced ruling BJP’s national vice president and niece of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Karuna Shukla, by nearly 21,000 votes in the newly-formed Korba constituency. Out of 11 parliamentary segments, the Congress managed to win just one seat.
“Mahant is exploiting all his political contacts in New Delhi and projecting himself a champion of Congress in Chhattisgarh as he won the lone seat for the party in the state where the Congress is out of power since December 2003,” a top source in the party said.
“This is the third time Mahant has made it to the Lok Sabha. His close associates are trying to convince the party central leadership that the Congress will bounce back in the state if he is accommodated in the government. In the previous Congress-led government, the state’s lone Lok Sabha MP Ajit Jogi too was left out from the ministry and Chhattisgarh had no representation in the central government,” the source said.
In 2004 elections too, the congress could manage to win only one seat – Mahasamund seat of Ajit Jogi – and its tally rose to 2 when it won Rajnandgaon in April 2007 by poll.