This resource-rich State in Central India is one of the fastest developing States of India. Bhupesh Baghel of Congress is seeking a second term.
There are 90 seats in Chhattisgarh and 46 seats are required to form a majority government. Bhupesh Baghel is known for his governance, administrative skills, innovative welfare schemes and patience. Before he became a Chief Minister in 2018, he bided his time as the Leader of the Opposition. BJP’s Raman Singh ruled Chhattisgarh for 15 years before the Congress got the mandate.
Parties in fray in Chhattisgarh include the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Janta Congress Chhattisgarh, and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) but the main fight is between the Congress and the BJP.
Electoral arithmetic in 2018
Congress had won 68 seats and BJP had won 15 seats. Seven seats won by others. In 2018, BJP had lost 34 seats which they had won in 2013. Out of these, Congress managed to grab 29 seats and Ajit Jogi’s party got five seats. Former BJP chief minister Raman Singh has been sidelined and more importance is being given to Janjgir Champa MLA Narayan Chandel.
Pollsters have claimed that Congress would get re-elected this time. However, most pollsters claim that the victory margin and number of seats of Congress may decrease this time.
Vibes of India predicts about 44.8% votes for the Congress and 43.7% votes for the BJP. Other Parties and independents are likely to get over 11.7% votes. However, there could be a one to four percent margin of error in the prediction. Over 76.31% voters cast their votes on November 30 in Chhattisgarh compared to 76.88% in 2018.
Political history of Chhattisgarh
Chhattisgarh became an independent from Madhya Pradesh and got statehood in 2000. Ajit Jogi of the Congress was the first Chief minister of Chhattisgarh, however his tenure continued for three years only. Thereafter, the BJP continuously won three Assembly elections and Raman Singh ruled as the Chief Minister.
In 2018, Congress won.
However, then in the Loksabha elections, in less than seven months, the State elected nine BJP MPs. There are 11 parliamentary constituencies in Chhattisgarh. The Congress won only two.
In Chhattisgarh, the forest area that covers nearly 40 per cent of the State is occupied by tribals. Gond, Jalba, Kamar, Oraon are the main tribes. Tribal population in Chhattisgarh is over 34%. Scheduled Caste form about 12% of the State population. Amongst outsiders, Odias, Bengalis and Marwaris are involved mainly in trade and commerce.
Patan is the most high-profile seat in Chhattisgarh. Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel is contesting from here on behalf of Congress. BJP has fielded party MP Vijay Baghel against Bhupesh. Both are related and this uncle-nephew battle is being viewed with much interest.
Bhupesh Baghel has been winning the Patan seat quite consistently. Congress has fielded him six times since 1993, out of which he has won five times. In 2008, Vijay Baghel defeated Bhupesh Baghel, popularly known as Kaka (uncle) by 7,842 votes.
In 2018, Bhupesh Baghel defeated BJP candidate Motilal Sahu by 27,477 votes.
The Ambikapur seat is in the news due to the claims of Deputy Chief Minister TS Singhdeo. The Deputy Chief Minister’s election affidavit was also a matter of discussion, in which he declared his total assets to be Rs 447 crore. This time, TS also known as Baba is contesting against BJP’s Rajesh Agrawal.
The picture on this seat has remained almost the same in the last three elections. All three times, Congress’s TS Singhdeo and BJP’s Anurag Singhdeo have faced each other. TS Singhdeo won the 2008 Chhattisgarh Assembly elections. The same trend continued in the 2013 and 2018 elections as well. In 2013, TS Singhdeo won by 19,558 votes, while in 2018, he won by 39,624 votes. Singhdeo was believed to be a very promising chief ministerial candidate in the last Assembly elections. His personal and political equation with his Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel is often discussed.
Assembly Speaker Charandas Mahant is contesting from here. BJP has fielded Khilawan Sahu as its candidate against Mahant.
Here, the dominance of Congress has remained in two out of the last three elections. In 2008, Saroj Rathore won the election for Congress by 9,392 votes. In the next election, Dr. Khilwaan Sahu won the election on the ticket of Bhartiya Janata Party by 9,033 votes. In 2018, Charandas Mahant of Congress defeated BJP’s Medha Ram Sahu by 30,046 votes.
Chhattisgarh Home Minister Tamradhwaj Sahu is contesting from Durg Rural on the Congress ticket. BJP has fielded Lalit Chandrakar as its candidate from here. In the last three of these two elections, BJP has won this seat, while Congress has been successful only last time. In 2008, Hemchand Yadav led the Bharatiya Janata Party to a 702-vote victory. In the next election, Ramasheela Sahu won the election for BJP by 2,979 votes. In the last contest, Tamradhwaj Sahu defeated BJP’s Jageshwar Sahu by 27,112 votes.
This time, all eyes are on Raigarh, one of the VIP seats in the Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly. Here, former IAS OP Chaudhary is being repeated by the BJP. Congress has fielded Prakash Shakrajit Nayak.
If we look at the old equations here, in the 2008 election, Congress candidate Dr. Shakrajit Nayak won the Raigarh Assembly constituency by 12,944 votes. In the 2013 Assembly elections, BJP candidate Roshan Lal won the Raigarh Assembly seat by 20,592 votes. Looking at the results of the Raigarh Assembly elections in 2018, the main contest was between Congress and BJP. Congress’s Prakash Nayak defeated BJP’s Roshan Lal by 14,580 votes.
This is a seat that BJP has not been able to win since Chhattisgarh became an independent State even though it was earlier the strong hold of BJP due to late Lakhi Ram Agarwal.
This time, the current MLA of Congress, Umesh Patel, is fighting it out with BJP’s Mahesh Sahu.
In 2008, Nandkumar Patel won the seat for Congress by 33,428 votes. Nandkumar Patel was killed in a Naxalite attack in Jeram Valley on May 25, 2013. In the same year, Congress fielded his son Umesh Patel in the election, who won the election by 38,888 votes. In the 2018 Chhattisgarh Assembly elections, Congress’s Umesh Patel won from the Kharsia seat of Raigarh district defeating BJP’s OP Chaudhary by 16,967 votes.
Kota is one of the seats where candidates from royal families are in fray. Here, Prabal Pratap Singh Judev, who comes from the Jaswantpur royal family, is contesting on a BJP ticket. Prabal Pratap Singh Judev is the son of BJP veteran leader Dilip Singh Judev. The Congress has given the ticket to Atal Srivastava. Renu Jogi, the widow of Ajit Jogi is contesting from here. Ajit Jogi was earlier with Congress and then founded Janata Congress. Renu is a formidable candidate. She has consecutively won the 2008,2013 and 2018 Assembly elections.
Raipur Nagar Dakshin
The capital of Chhattisgarh, Raipur is witnessing an interesting battle between the BJP and the Congress.
Congress has fielded Mahant Ram Sundar Das, the head of the Dudhdhari Math. But it remains to be seen whether the religious leader is able to checkmate Brijmohan Agarwal of the BJP who has been winning this seat since last eight times. He has been winning even when Chhattisgarh was a part of Madhya Pradesh.
The Mahant,Ram Sundar Das is the chairman of the Chhattisgarh Gau Seva Aayog in the Bhupesh Baghel government.