The second and final phase of Assembly election in Chhattisgarh will take place on Tuesday, with voters going to seal the fate of candidates for 72 seats. Former chief minister Ajit Jogi and his two family members, IAS-turned-politician OP Choudhry and Sarguja's former royal TS Singhdeo among the strong candidates to contest in this tribal-dominated state on Tuesday.
On November 12, in the first phase of polling for 18 constituencies, including in 12 Naxal-affected seats, the total voter turnout was 76.28 per cent and political pundits are expecting the voting to be high in the second phase also.
In 2013, the total turnout for all 90 seats was 74.65 per cent. The Election campaign ended on Sunday evening for the remaining 72 seats and the places where voting will take place include Kawardha, the home district of Chief Minister Raman Singh.
Singh is a registered voter in Kawardha, but contests polls from Rajnandgaon, where voting took place in the first phase.
"We are expecting a pro-incumbency vote in the second phase also and people will come out in huge numbers this time also to vote for the BJP. We will definitely coming back to power for the record fourth-time in a row," Singh said.
Traditionally, the Congress has been the closest rival of Singh, who has been in power for 15 years. However, this election, there is a third force in form of former chief minister Ajit Jogi's alliance with Dalit leader Mayawati.
The entire Jogi family except his son, Amit Jogi, are contesting the assembly polls. Ajit Jogi is contesting from Marwahi, his wife Renu Jogi from Konta and his daughter-in-law, Richa Jogi from Akaltara on BSP ticket. Jogi's new political outfit, Janata Congress Chhattisgarh is contesting polls in alliance with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party.
Besides, the fate of 10 ministers, including Brijmohan Agrawal (Raipur South), Amar Agrawal (Bilaspur) and Rajesh Munat (Raipur West), among others is also at stake in the second phase of polling.
Both Ajit Jogi and OP Choudhry quit Indian Administrative Service (IAS) to enter politics. While Ajit Jogi served as the collector of Indore, Choudhry worked on the powerful post of Raipur collector when he decided to join the BJP.
Ajit Jogi, who had resigned to join the Congress, was given berth in the Rajya Sabha and later became the first chief minister of the newly carved Chhattisgarh state in 2000. Jogi was chief minister till 2003 when the Congress lost power to the BJP.
(With PTI inputs)