The stage is set for the high-stakes political battle between the BJP and the Congress as campaigning for the second and final phase of Chhattisgarh Assembly elections came to an end on Sunday evening. The high-decibel political campaign was nothing but a blame game between the rival parties over several ongoing factors like sufferings of farmers, unemployment and corruption. While the Congress is seeking to oust the Raman Singh-led government in the Maoist-hit state, the BJP will fight for survival. The Saffron party won three consecutive elections in Chhattisgarh and has been ruling the state for the last 15 years.
Polling for remaining 72 constituencies in 90-member assembly will take place across 19 districts on Tuesday, November 20, 2018. A total of 1,101 candidates are in the fray in the second phase of Chhattisgarh elections. In the first phase, polling was held for 18 assembly segments in the eight Naxal-hit districts of Chhattisgarh on November 12. The phase one recorded an impressive voter turnout of 76.28 per cent despite the Maoist threat.
Of the 19 districts going to the polls on November 20, Gariaband, Dhamtari, Mahasamund, Kabirdham, Jashpur and Balrampur have some Naxal presence. Therefore, security has been beefed up in these sensitive regions to avoid any untoward incidents.
In a bid to woo voters, prominent leaders like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath held road shows on the last day of campaigning. Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and BJP president Amit Shah had addressed rallies in Chhattisgarh on Saturday.
While the BJP top brass targeted the Gandhi family for the "misrule" of 50 years the Congress focussed on farmers' issues, promising loan waiver, bonus on paddy procurement and setting up of food processing units. Rahul Gandhi also targeted Modi over the Rafale fighter jets deal and Chief Minister Raman Singh for the alleged PDS (Public Distribution System) and chit fund scams in the state.
BJP Candidates list:
The list includes BJP ministers Brijmohan Agrawal (Raipur City South), Rajesh Munat (Raipur City West), Amar Agrawal (Bilaspur), Bhaiyyalal Rajwade (Baikunthpur), Ramsevak Paikra (Pratappur), Punnulal Mohile (Mungeli), Prem Prakash Pandey (Bhilai Nagar), Dayaldas Baghel (Nawagarh) and Ajay Chandrakar (Kurud) and state BJP president Dharamlal Kaushik (Bilha).
Congress Candidates list:
State Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel (Patan), Leader of Opposition in the Assembly T S Singh Deo (Ambikapur), Lok Sabha member from Durg Tamradhwaj Sahu (Durg Rural), former Union minister Charandas Mahant (Shakti) are among the key Congress figures whose fate will be decided in the second phase of polling.
Mayawati-Ajit Jogi-led third Front in Chhattisgarh Elections:
Former chief minister Ajit Jogi, who has floated the Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J), is contesting from Marwahi, his wife Renu Jogi is in the fray from Kota while his daughter-in-law Richa Jogi is a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) nominee from the Akaltara seat in the second phase of polling. The coalition between the Mayawati-led BSP, Jogi's JCC(J) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) has added a twist to the poll battle between the BJP and the Congress.
The counting of votes for Chhattisgarh along with four other poll-bound states - Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mizoram and Telangana - will be taken up on December 11, 2018.