Welcome to Rajnandgaon, Chhattisgarh: BJP, Congress have a common icon: Atal Bihari Vajpayee

India News

Rajnandgaon, Chhattisgarh 

An interesting poll contest is on the cards between Raman Singh (BJP) and Karuna Shukla (Cong)

Raman Singh – Present CM and father of present Rajnandgaon MP, Abhishek Singh

Karuna Shukla – Niece of former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee.

There are five days to go for polling, and flags of both the BJP and the Congress are fluttering on top of homes in Rajnandgaon. There are massive billboards, mostly of the BJP, carrying slogans and images of the late former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee. Below, on the streets of Rajnandgaon, too, the shadow of Vajpayee looms. 

But the mention of the late former PM A B Vajpayee is not just by BJP but also by the Congress candidate  Karuna Shukla!

Both Congress and BJP regard A B Vajpayee as their icon.

Shukla was in the BJP for 34 years, when she fought and won Lok Sabha elections as well. Karuna Shukla was earlier MLA from Balodabazaar, and also MP from Janjgir Champa constituency, both while in the BJP.

But her party sidelined her five years ago. Then she joined the Congress. She has since fought elections for the Congress but remained unsuccessful. A large part of her tenure with the Congress is marked by anger against the BJP on the “treatment of Vajpayee”.

After Vajpayee’s death on August 16, Shukla has been more vocal against the BJP’s “asti kalash” campaign, calling it a political stunt over a legend’s death.

This anger is now visible in her Rajnandgaon campaign. Shukla keeps telling people that “those who could not honour their seniors and mentors cannot be trusted”.

In reply, Raman Singh, the Rajnandgaon BJP candidate, says Shukla gave up the values that Vajpayee stood for when she joined the Congress.

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