Bullett Raja in time off Chhattisgarh's hot seat

Raman singhRaman Singh with wife, son and daughter-in-law. The family has been taking extended meals. Oinam Anand

On December 6, the CM house hosted a cricket match after 3 years. Raman Singh is a batsman and a quality spinner. "He doesn't get time these days. But he does yoga and walks a lot," says son Abhishek

A Bullett Raja show with the family in Mumbai and a visit to Siddhivinayak temple combined with it, spur-of-the-moment halts at dhabas of other states with grateful managers refusing to charge money, and yoga at Pune resorts — Chief Minister Raman Singh has been enjoying these rare "luxuries" since polling three weeks ago.

There had been initial anxiety because of the buzz that people wanted change after his two terms in power. But the opinion and exit polls have put paid to those — or so it seems. "We are very upbeat, confident. There is no reason why people would vote for the Congress," says son Abhishek Singh.

The officers on special duty and secretaries who have been with Singh for nearly a decade are also gung-ho. "If we are confident, they will naturally be. They reflect our mood," chuckles Abhishek, an XLRI, Jamshedpur, post-graduate.

After the breaks they took outside the state, the CM and his family were mostly at home all of last week, relaxing over extended meals. "We have been watching movies, comic serials, especially Comedy Nights With Kapil," says Abhishek.

Grinning, Singh complains jokingly about the questions directed at his son. "Ab purane logon se kyon miloge (Why will you meet old people now)?"

More seriously, he is aware of the distance he has travelled since the time he badly lost an Assembly poll from hometown Kawardha in 1998 and got a second wind with a surprise Lok Sabha ticket a year later. The call from the BJP in 2003 to take over as Chhattisgarh CM was equally sudden. He was at the time more known as an Ayurvedic doctor, and living quietly in Delhi.

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