After a tie-up with the BSP, the Chhattisgarh Janata Congress led by Ajit Jogi on Sunday announced a pre-poll alliance with the CPI for the upcoming Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh. According to the terms of the alliance, the CPI will be given two seats to contest in south Bastar — Dantewada and Konta — where the party has considerable presence. Both these seats go to polls on November 12.
While talks with the BSP and the Congress were at a much more advanced stage before breaking down, it is learnt that the Congress had been in touch with senior CPI leaders such as Manish Kunjam from Konta. However, the talks did not get off the ground, with the CPI seeking these two seats, which have sitting Congress MLAs. The sitting MLA from Dantewada is Devti Karma, wife of the slain Mahendra Karma, while the Konta MLA is Kawasi Lakhma, also Deputy Leader of the Opposition.
Both these seats may now witness a three-way contest, especially Konta, with former MLA Manish Kunjam already hitting the campaign road. In the 2013 election, the Congress came first, the BJP second, and the CPI third in both these seats.
But in both seats, the CPI had considerable influence, winning 11.96 per cent of the votes in Dantewada and 26 per cent in Konta. The BSP got 2.78 per cent votes in Dantewada and 3.4 per cent in Konta.
Senior Congress leaders, however, said that the latest tie-up will not “harm the Congress” and merely kept the “situation the same”. A senior Bastar leader said, “The two seats the CPI wanted were impossible to give. So it has returned to the situation it always has been, where the CPI is a player…. We must be careful of course, but this has not changed the picture much.”