Two gutsy women, both mayors, are taking on two powerful ministers in the second phase of the Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh on November 19.
In Raipur South, Brijmohan Agrawal, a powerful minister, is being challenged by Kiranmayee Nayak, the mayor of Raipur.
State PWD and school education minister Mr. Agrawal is contesting from this seat — Raipur Rural before delimitation — for the sixth time in a row, while Ms. Nayak is trying her luck in the Assembly polls for the first time on a Congress ticket.
Owner of several rice mills, Mr.Agrawal has been facing allegations of corruption in road construction, procurement of school textbooks, cycles and even furniture, though he has managed to wriggle out of them.
At Bilaspur, an industrial town, State Health Minister Amar Agrawal is being taken on by the city mayor Vani Rao, who is contesting for the first time. Mr. Amar Agrawal is contesting for the fourth time in a row.
Dismissing the perception that she had been given the ticket just because the party has no hope of winning from here, Ms. Rao told The Hindu that she had asked for this seat. “It is not tokenism. I wanted to contest from here and the party graciously chose me,’’ she said.
Admitting that it was a tough competition, Ms. Rao said it would have been equally difficult for a man to contest from here considering the kind of money and tactics being used by the sitting MLA. “In fact I have an advantage being a woman because women open up to me and discuss their problems. The health minister has done nothing for the State or the constituency. When women go for deliveries to government hospitals, they take bandages and other items with them even though these should be supplied free. This is the extent of corruption here,’’ she said.