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As turncoats fail to make a cut in Chhattisgarh, all eyes on Maharaj

Screenshot 2024 05 06 085524RAIPUR: Past election results show that most of the turncoat candidates, despite being popular, could not gain the confidence of the voters in Chhattisgarh and lost the polls.

Among others, Karuna Shukla, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s niece who had left the BJP and joined the Congress, and veteran Congress leader late Vidya Charan Shukla, who had defected to the BJP during the 2004 general elections, could not win elections.

Now all eyes are on BJP candidate Chintamani Maharaj, who is counted among the senior politicians in Surguja in north Chhattisgarh.

He had left the BJP to join the Congress in 2013 and contested Assembly polls from Samri, and from Balrampur seat in 2018. Chintamani was a Congress MLA twice.

After he was denied ticket by the Congress ahead of 2023 Assembly polls, he returned to BJP fold, calling it his “ghar vapsi”. It remains to be seen if Maharaj gets a favourable response from Surguja voters on May 7 polling.

In the 2018 assembly polls, Karuna Shukla was tipped as a formidable Congress candidate from Rajnandgaon assembly constituency, considered as the strong turf of BJP ex-chief minister Raman Singh who earlier won elections twice from there.

Even the efforts by the Congress candidate staking claim to the legacy of Vajpayee, who died in August 2018, did not work. She lost the Assembly polls. Later in 2019, BJP candidate face Lakhan Lal Sahu defeated her from Bilaspur Lok Sabha seat by a margin of 17,6436 votes. Karuna Shukla had left the BJP to join the Congress in February 2014.

Similarly, VC Shukla, who switched loyalty to the saffron party ahead of the 2004 general elections lost the Mahasamund Lok Sabha seat, where the party gave him an opportunity to contest. First chief minister of Chhattisgarh Ajit Jogi, who was the Congress candidate, won against Shukla, getting 1.18 lakh more votes.

Shukla, a key contender for the post of chief minister after Chhattisgarh was carved out in November 2000, returned to the Congress later. Shukla died of bullet injuries he sustained during an audacious Maoist ambush in May 2013.

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