Cong's Mahant keen on contesting Chhattisgarh polls

Cong's Mahant keen on contesting Chhattisgarh polls

Chhattisgarh Congress leader Charan Das Mahant.

The chairman of the Congress' Chhattisgarh Election Campaign Committee and former Union minister of state for agriculture Charan Das Mahant has shown interest to fight the upcoming Assembly polls, with a rider that if the party high command permits.

If Congress wins the upcoming polls, Mahant is seen as the frontrunner for the post of chief minister. During the last election in 2013, Mahant was the Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee (CPCC) president before being elevated to the Centre. He is considered a calm face of the Congress, though he does not have mass appeal among the people.

Recently, in his former Lok Sabha constituency of Korba, in Sarguja division, a pamphlet drive was launched against Mahant, stating that he should not be the candidate due to his inactivity in the region even after being an MP and a Union minister.

Talking to media persons at Korba, Mahant said, "I am ready to jump into the upcoming polls to the state Assembly if the high command permits."

"I have been presently assigned a major responsibility in the state as chairman of the election campaign committee. It would not have been justified, had I claimed the party candidature myself during the recent party process of submission of forms at the block level, which ended recently. So I skipped it," Mahant said.

"My supporters from constituencies of Sakti, Katghora and Baikunthpur are requesting me to be a candidate from these seats. If the party leadership in New Delhi gives the green signal, I would prefer any one of these constituencies," he said. Saki is Mahant's birthplace.

Replying to a query on CPCC chief Bhupesh Baghel and Leader of the Opposition T S Singhdeo filing their forms even after holding important posts, Mahant said," They are sitting MLAs. They have the right over their respective seats. They have applied through due process."

Commenting on the candidature of sitting Kota MLA Dr Renu Jogi, Mahant pointed out that the suspense remains.

Regarding a possible alliance with the Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Mahant said, "These two political parties have shown their willingness to make an alliance with the Congress in the state but discussions have not reached a conclusion."