A self-confessed chance entrant into politics, Chief Minister Raman Singh is fighting a 15-year strong anti-incumbency in Chhattisgarh which goes to polls on November 12 & 20.
Come November and as many as 18 Naxal-affected constituencies of the state would witness polling in the first phase elections on November 12, while the rest 72 constituencies would vote in the second phase on November 20.
Singh, who is serving his third term as chief minister, aspired to be a doctor in the armed forces. However, he pursued a Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery course and went on to become an Ayurvedic doctor. But, fate had other plans for him. Moved by the principles and ideologies of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh in his student days, he joined the right-wing political party. Since then his tryst with politics took wings.
Here's a glance at his long political journey and achievements:
Singh became the president of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh Yuva Morcha at his native place Khawardha in 1976-1977. He progressed to become a councillor of Khawardha municipality in 1983.
He was elected as a Member of Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly consecutively in 1990 and 1993 and during this time he became a member of the Public Accounts Committee and also worked as an editor of Vidhayini, the Vidhan Sabha magazine.
In 1999, he was elected to the 13th Lok Sabha from the Rajnandgaon constituency in Chhattisgarh. He defeated Motilal Vora (the former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh and the governor of Uttar Pradesh) and went on to become the Union Minister of State Commerce and Industry in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. Soon after, he resigned from the Union government and went on to become the president of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s state unit. And this proved to be the biggest turning point in his career.
In 2003, Singh led the BJP to an unprecedented victory in the Assembly elections and on December 7 the same year, Singh took oath as the second chief minister of Chhattisgarh ousting Congress’ Ajit Jogi.
Singh has faced a fair set of challenges as the chief minister of a state replete with Naxalism. In July 2018, the chief minister was quoted by news agency PTI as saying, “We have taken a pledge to free Chhattisgarh from the menace of Naxalism before 2022 and we will do it. I and my team today again take the resolve to end Naxalism before 2022.”
It was in 2006-07 that the state topped the implementation of a 20-point developmental programme for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The assessment of the same was done by Statistics and Programme Implementation Ministry.
Lesser known facts about Raman Singh:
What many don’t know about Singh is that he is good at cricket and has played several tournaments. He had once quipped in a public rally he always wanted to go for a hat-trick in cricket, but that never happened. However, he an ever-confident Singh had said, “…but I will make a hat-trick by forming the government for a third time in Chhattisgarh.” In 2013, Raman Singh won the third tenure as the chief minister.
Will the people help him retain his seat, or will his party lose the vote ball...? Come December 11, and the state will determine his fate.