The Janjgir Lok Sabha constituency, also known as Janjgir-Champa, is a Scheduled Caste (SC) reserved seat in Chhattisgarh. BJP’s Kamla Patle has represented the seat twice. In fact, BJP has won the seat thrice in a row. While Congress has performed well in the recent Assembly polls in the region, this constituency has a strong BSP presence too.
Janjgir is the seat from where the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) founder Kanshi Ram had fought his first Lok Sabha election, way back in 1984 in undivided Madhya Pradesh.
It was a Congress Vs BJP fight then but Kanshi Ram who fought as an independent candidate, had come third, ahead of Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Janata Party.
BJP has been strong in Janjgir but with Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (Jogi) in the fray, this seat was already witnessing a triangular contest. The party had a tie-up with BSP in Assembly polls.
And, if the alliance continues, then all eyes will be on Janjgir seat as the fight would be three-cornered viz BJP, Congress and the BSP-JCC alliance. In the recent Assembly elections Congress won four seats while BSP and BJP two each in the eight constituencies that fall under the Janjgir Lok Sabha seat.
On Akaltara seat, Ajit Jogi’s daughter-in-law Renu Jogi lost to BJP candidate by 1,400 votes. She had contested as a BSP candidate. Such has been BSP’s presence that while Congress got 4.78 lakh votes, BJP around 4 lakh votes, BSP secured 3.5 lakh votes.
In the last Lok Sabha election, BJP’s Kamla Patle had defeated Congress’ Prem Chand Jayasi by 1.74 lakh votes. In the previous election, in 2009, Patle had defeated Congress’ Dr Shivkumar Daharia by well over 80,000 votes.
In 2004, it was a tough contest. That year, Karuna Shukla, who was then in BJP, had defeated Congress’ Charan Das Mahant by just over 11,000 votes.
Before that, Charan Das Mahant had won twice on Congress ticket—in 1998 and 1999. Till 2004, Janjgir was a seat which was not any party’s bastion—sometimes Congress won it, at other times BJP.
It is the seat known for sending the venerable Mini Mata, the most prominent woman leader in the history of Chhattisgarh, to Parliament. She was elected from here in 1967 and 1971.
She contested on Congress ticket. It was in 1977 when Bhartiya Lok Dal won the seat. BJP had first wrested the seat from Congress in 1989. BJP candidate Dilip Singh Judeo had defeated Congress’ Prabhat Mishra by a margin of 99,000 votes.
But in the next election, Congress’ Bhawani Lal Verma had defeated Judeo by around 29,000 votes (in 1991). Again, in 1996, BJP won the seat when Manharan Lal Pandey defeated Bhawanilal Verma by 34,000 votes.
Congress won twice in 1998 and 1999. Since then, BJP has won the seat thrice. After the Congress’ huge victory in the Assembly elections, Congress is hopeful of a victory here.
BJP leaders are confident because of the past record—three straight wins in Lok Sabha polls apart from division of votes between BSP and Congress. But it’s sure that Janjgir will witness a contest that won’t be easy to predict.