Ending months of speculation on which party he would join before the polls,descendent of the Bastar princely family king Kamal Chandra Bhanj Dev embraced BJP in Raipur today. Top brass of state BJP,including Chief Minister Raman Singh,were present. Earlier,Dev was warming up to Congress and had indicated he was open to join any other party.
He is eyeing Assembly polls,but of the 12 seats in Bastar zone,only Jagdalpur is for general candidates and the rest are reserved for Scheduled Tribes. If the party wants,I would contest polls, he said today.
Bastar is the most politically significant region of Chhattisgarh,mainly responsible for ensuring BJPs victory in the last two polls. The party won 9 of 12 Bastar seats in 2003 polls,and clinched 11 in 2008. With BJP facing anti-incumbency,a slight tilt in voting after Devs arrival may be decisive. Dev,in his early 30s,had earlier said that in an alliance with any party,he would seek at least 5-6 seats in Bastar for his candidates.
Bastar has been neglected for decades. My priority is development and I want to work with BJP, he added.
The officiating priest of Danteshwari temple in Dantewada is from the royal family. Devs grandfather Praveen Chandra Bhanj Dev,killed by the state police in 1960 for allegedly leading a tribal agitation,was treated like god by local people. The Bastar princely family was earlier associated with Congress.