Chhatisgarh contenders

Last Updated: Wed, Nov 12, 2008 13:13 hrs

Raman Singh (born October 15, 1952) is the current Chief Minister of Chhatisgarh, from the Bharatiya Janata Party. He has been chief minister since December 7, 2003. He banned naxalite organisations in Chattisgarh in 2005, a move supported by the opposition party as well, led by Mahendra Karma.

Fifty-one year-old Singh, an Ayurveda doctor, was a dark horse in the race for the top slot in a State where factionalism prevented BJP from going public with its Chief Ministerial candidate in the just-held Assembly elections.

However, Singh, State BJP president, has all along been in contention for Chief Ministership, even though he was perceived a distant third compared to former Union Minister Dilip Singh Judeo, the only BJP leader in Chhattisgarh with a statewide appeal, and Union Minister of State for Mines Ramesh Bais.

But circumstances turned in favour of Singh when cash-on-camera scam involving Judeo took place a few weeks before the December 1 polling, ruling out his chances for the top post.

Singh had to sacrifice his ministerial berth at the Centre and was assigned the onerous task of spearheading the saffron challenge to resourceful rival and his predecessor Ajit Jogi.

Singh, along with his RSS mentor Lakhiram Agarwal, is credited with formulating the strategy to take on Jogi that paid off handsomely in the polls.

He was first elected to Madhya Pradesh Assembly (before the creation of Chhattisgarh) in 1990 and again in 1998.

In 1999, he made his debut in Lok Sabha from Rajnandgaon, defeating veteran Congress leader Motilal Vohra and was appointed the Minister of State for Commerce and Industries in the Vajpayee Government, a charge he had held till he quit the ministry to become Chhattisgarh BJP chief.

Ajit Jogi (born April 29, 1946) is a member of the 14th Lok Sabha of India. He represents the Mahasamund constituency of Chattisgarh and is a member of the Indian National Congress (INC) political party.

He was the first Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh between 2000 and 2003. Despite having suffered a severe spinal cord injury while campaigning during the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, he is presently the only elected Congress Member of Parliament from Chhattisgarh (Mahasamund). He studied Mechanical Engineering at the Maulana Azad College of Technology, Bhopal, winning the University Gold Medal in 1968.

After having worked briefly as a lecturer at the Govt. Engineering College, Raipur, he took the nationwide examination conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and was selected for the Indian Police Service (IPS, 1968-70) and Indian Administrative Service (IAS, 1970-86). He holds the all-India Record for the longest serving District Magistrate & Collector (13 years), having served as collector of Sidhi, Shahdol, Raipur and Indore.

At the behest of the then Prime Minister Late Mr Rajiv Gandhi, he resigned to take the plunge into politics and become Member of the Rajya Sabha (India's Upper House), where he served two terms (1986-92, 92-98). In 1998, he won the Raigarh seat after defeating the BJP state president and entered the Lok Sabha for the first time.

He was the Congress Party's Chief Spokesperson and Whip- position he held till he was elected Chief Minister of the newly created state of Chhattisgarh on November 1, 2000. He has served and headed several Parliamentary Committees, the SC, ST and OBC Department of the AICC and been President of the Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee. Jogi also holds the record for having won both the Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha elections with the highest margin in the state of Chhattisgarh.

Arun Vora, son of Congress treasurer Motilal Vora, lost convincingly to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Hemchand Yadav in the 2003 polls from Durg.

Arun Vora was the Congress candidate for Assembly Constituency (Durg District) 2003 Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly Elections.

Arun Vora polled the second highest number of votes (84911) and was defeated by a margin of 22573 votes. Hem Chand Yadav of BJP won the seat with a tally of 107484 votes.

More from Sify: