CM Bhupesh Baghel, a five-term MLA from the seat, wants to win big as a close contest would be embarrassing.
The uncle-nephew clash set up in the Patan constituency of Chhattisgarh may go down to the wire but Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, a five-term MLA from the seat, may want to win handsomely as close contest would be embarrassing for a sitting chief minister. Also, tight contest may also revive the bitter memory of his 2008 defeat at the hands of BJP challenger, nephew and sitting MP Vijay Baghel.
While Vijay Baghel may want to repeat his 2008 feat of winning with a margin of 8,000 votes, the Chief Minister and his campaign management team would want to assert their superiority in the Assembly election on November 17.
Bhupesh Baghel’s has managed to consolidate his position every time he contested from here after the 2008 defeat. In 2018, he won 84,352 votes, in 2013 he got 68,185 votes and in 2008 he got 51,158 votes. The chief minister has tasted success whenever the turnout has been high – in the region of 80%. In 2008, when he lost to his nephew the turnout was 71.8%.
The Congress stalwart and sitting MLA has an irreproachable track record in serving the people of the constituency and electors know that he would take good care of them. The Chief Minister also acknowledges his electors’ love for him saying, “I have been showered with love by voters of my constituency regularly and wish to continue serving them.” He said the caste survey conducted by his government, for deciding quota limits and tweaking welfare schemes, helped his government serve the people better and this is the reason why the Congress will return to power. Voters in the Chief Minister’s constituency have time and again sought affordable shelter and better health and education facilities, which he has strived to deliver.
In Patan, like the rest of the state, the Congress is likely to showcase its development model and social welfare schemes, like loan waiver and cash transfer, to win votes. On the other hand, Vijay Baghel, a member of the saffron party’s manifesto committee, is trying to build his campaign around corruption in government, poor law and order situation and the Hindutva plank.
The Chacha-Bhatija duo has clashed thrice in the past–2003, 2008 and 2013–and Bhupesh Baghel has won the battles in 2003 and 2013.
Vijay Baghel has been urging the voters to usher in change in the constituency. He said, “I have assured PM Narendra Modi that I will capture this seat.” The Kurmi community, a sub-caste of OBC, holds sway in the constituency and both Baghels belong to this powerful category of voters. The BJP’s strategy behind fielding its MP from Durg parliamentary constituency is to give the CM a tough challenge and force him to spend more time in his own campaign in the constituency. However, Bhupesh Baghel has nurtured his constituency so painstakingly that his campaign team appears confident in managing the affairs even without his permanent physical presence in the constituency.
Chhattisgarh is a mineral-rich state but it is still to overcome challenges like poverty, especially in the tribal pockets. The presence of Left-Wing Extremism and the threats issued by Naxals to tribal voters to boycott elections also have a bearing on the poll outcome in the state. As for Patan constituency, it remains to be seen if the uncle manages to beat his nephew or if the 1.95 lakh voters in the constituency find the younger Baghel more suitable to serve them.