When the BJP counts its seats, the two it does not take into account are those held and re-contested by the Jogi family.
One is Marwahi, a reserved seat, at present being represented by former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi, and now being contested by his son Amit Jogi who makes his formal political debut; and the second by senior Mr. Jogi’s wife Renu Jogi, re-contesting for the third time in a row.
“The issue is not about winning or losing for Amit bhaiyya but whether he will get a higher margin than his father’s 42,000 plus votes in 2008,’’ claim his supporters.
Amit had been nurturing this segment in his father’s absence when he was the Chief Minister. He is pitted against Sameera Paikra of the BJP who is a Zila Panchayat member and a popular figure.
Just adjoining Marwahi is Kota, from where Amit’s mother Renu, an ophthalmologist, is contesting. She also hopes to improve her margin this time — it had gone down drastically to just 9,811 in the last elections. Her fight is with Kashi Sahu of the BJP.
Marwahi and Kota are two of the seven Assembly segments in Bilaspur district. Of the seven, the BJP had won five and the Congress two in the last Assembly elections.
“The family does have an influence in neighbouring segments and is likely to influence voting patterns,” points out a BJP activist. Another senior journalist says the Bilaspur range has 38 seats of which 19 went to the BJP, 17 to the Congress and two to the BSP. “The numbers are unlikely to change this time, but the seats might change as the BSP has influence in the wider area this time but is unlikely to win. This would only mean the BJP benefitting,” he adds.