Chhattisgarh Assembly Elections: All You Need To Know
The electoral battle for Chhattisgarh promises to be exciting with a new entrant in what was essentially a two-horse race between the Bharatiya Janata Party led by three-term Chief Minister Raman Singh and the Congress Party.
The assembly elections will be held in the state in two phases -- on Nov. 12 and Nov. 20.
The Chhattisgarh assembly has 90 seats, with 46 needed to form the government. In the 2013 assembly elections, the BJP bagged 49 seats, and the Congress clinched 39. Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party won one seat.
Vote shares in the previous elections indicate that the contest may have been closer. In the 2008 assembly polls, the vote share difference between the BJP and Congress was about 1 percent, while in 2013 it was nearly 3 percent.
Opinion polls have predicted a close fight, with C-Voter predicting a win for the Congress, while others put the BJP in front. On average, pollsters are predicting a narrow victory for the BJP, a mere seven seats ahead of the Congress.
The Congress and BJP could face pressure from the alliance between BSP and Ajit Jogi's Janta Congress Chhattisgarh. Mayawati dealt a blow to Congress' hopes of forming a Mahagathbandhan, or grand alliance, when she joined hands with Jogi, a former Congressman.
The BSP may not have the numbers to form the government but the alliance could cut into the Congress’ vote. Jogi was the first chief minister of Chhattisgarh and was suspended from the Congress in 2016. He remains the most well-known leader in the state after Raman Singh while the Congress doesn't have a widely recognised leader.
Chhattisgarh’s other big face is three-time Chief Minister Raman Singh. Singh will face off with the late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's niece Karuna Shukla—who joined the Congress—for the Rajnandgaon seat. Jogi, according to news reports, was to contest from the constituency, and the Congress is citing his reluctance as proof that he's functioning as the BJP’s “B-Team”. While Singh is known for his focus on development, he might have to deal with anti-incumbency.
Chhattisgarh faces critical issues that need to be resolved. Controlling the Maoist insurgency in the Bastar region has been a critical challenge and a poll plank. Addressing the concerns of the tribal population—a significant part of the electorate—is another concern. Of the 90 seats in the state, 39 are reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Unemployment, which according to CMIE data stands at 22 percent, is another major problem.
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