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Baghel in Bundelkhand, Congress eyes OBC votes

New Delhi, Nov 16 (IANS) Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel is in Banda, Bundelkhand for two days. The Congress through Baghel is eyeing the largest chunk in the region, the OBC vote bank.

As per rough estimates, almost all major districts of the region has approximately 50 per cent OBC population. Mahoba, Banda, Chitrakoot have even more than 50 per cent OBCs with Kurmis dominating. The Chhattisgarh Chief Minister himself is from Kurmi-Patel community and can influence the voters for the Congress.

The other districts are Jhansi, Hamirpur, Lalitpur and Jalaun.

Congress MLC Deepak Singh said, Congress has three chief ministers and the party has made Bhupesh Baghel (Kurmi) and Ashok Gehlot (Mali) from the community while Punjab Chief Minister is a Dalit. It is the Congress which cares for the OBCs and Dalits not the BJP which only talks of empowerment but does nothing.

As per rough estimates the region has Yadavs, Kurmis, Gadarias, Kachis and other sub-groups like Telis, Sonars (goldsmiths), Nais (barbers), Darjis (tailors), Dhobis (washermen) and Kumhars (potters).

The region was the BSP bastion, but now BJP in alliance with Apna Dal swept the 2017 assembly polls. In the last elections, the BJP won all the 19 assembly seats. The area has become strong BJP bastion since 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

On the other hand, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will start a direct dialogue with women - "Ladki hun lad sakti hun" in Chitrakoot on Wednesday at Ramghat.

The venue has been chosen to give subtle message as Chitrakoot has religious importance and had its own identity since times immemorial. The first known mention of the place is in the Valmiki's Ramayan, which is believed to be the first ever Mahakavya. Valmiki speaks of Chitrakoot as an eminently holy place.