Ajith Vijay Kumar
There is something about this ayurvedic doctor that sets Dr Raman Singh apart from others of his ilk in politics. For one, he has none of the greater than life grandeur of someone like Narendra Modi but more importantly, Singh comes across an affable, approachable man with no trappings of power.
However, if one were to look at his achievements in governance, the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister stands tall among his peers.
A native of Kawardha, 60-year-old Dr Singh was active in the RSS since his college days and started his political career as a corporator. He became a Member of Parliament in 1998 and went on to become a minister of state for commerce and industry in the Atal Behari Vajpayee government.
He took over as the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh after the BJP defeated Ajit Jogi-led Congress government in 2003. In the run up to the elections that year, the charismatic late Dilip Singh Judeo was fancied as the obvious choice to take the chair in Raipur before he was caught in a sting operation.
Apart from the quiet charisma and effectiveness of Chief Minister Raman Singh, the big organisational loopholes in the Congress is one reason for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party to have an edge over the Congress.
Known for his no-nonsense style, Dr Singh has brought in perceptible change in the state which was till recently considered as back of the beyond and extremely backward.
However, the going will not be easy for him this time around given the anti-incumbency of 10 years and a number of tall promises that he made in 2008 that remains unfulfilled.
Be it metro train between Raipur-Bhilai-Durg or other promises like free 5 hp electricity and interest free loan for farmers, 100% insurance for landless labourers, the list remains long.
Also, the party had to cancel of the tickets of several outgoing MLAs after reports from the ground came in negative.
However, the original ‘Chawal Wale Baba’ Dr Raman Singh has much going for him as well. The most important being the stupendous success of his food security policy which provides for 35 kg of food grain to each poor family.
Also, he has ensured that the benefit gets to the intended people by reforming the public distribution system.