Voting will be held for 20 seats in the first phase in Chhattisgarh on Tuesday (PTI)
Voting will be held on 20 seats of the first phase of Chhattisgarh assembly elections tomorrow on Tuesday. The noise of election campaign on these 20 seats stopped on Sunday evening and now the candidates are contacting the voters door-to-door. The fate of 223 candidates is at stake on 20 seats in the first round, in which 198 male and 25 female candidates are in the fray. The first phase of elections is going to be a litmus test for Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the seats of Naxal affected areas like Bastar and Durg.
Out of 20 seats in the first phase, Congress has control over 19 seats while BJP has only one seat, the seat of former Chief Minister Raman Singh. In this way, it will be a big challenge for Congress to retain its seats while BJP will have to go through Agneepath to return to power. In this way, the credibility of both the parties is at stake in the first phase. This is the reason why from Congress side, everyone from Rahul Gandhi to Priyanka Gandhi and party president Mallikarjun Kharge, while from BJP side, from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Amit Shah and JP Nadda came out in the campaign.
Mathematics of 20 seats in the first phase
In the first phase of Chhattisgarh, voting will be held on 12 seats of Naxal affected division Bastar and 8 seats of Rajnandgaon, Kawardha and Khairagarh of Durg division on Tuesday. Out of 20 seats in the first phase, 13 seats are reserved for Scheduled Tribes while 7 seats are for General Category. In this way, the dominance of Congress in tribal dominated areas was visible in the last elections and the party had captured 19 out of 20 seats. All the 12 seats of Bastar division went to Congress’s account, while it was successful in winning the remaining 7 seats except one seat of Durg division. BJP had won only one seat, Rajnandgaon, from where Raman Singh is the MLA.
Congress has captured all the 12 seats of Bastar. Not only this, Congress also has an MP from Bastar Lok Sabha seat. Before this, BJP was strong here. In the 2013 elections, Congress was successful in winning 8 seats and BJP was successful in winning 4 seats. In the 2008 elections, BJP won 10 seats, Congress won one seat and one seat went to others. In the 2003 elections, BJP was successful in winning 9 out of 12 seats in Bastar and Congress 3 seats, but after 20 years, the area of Bastar has now become a strong stronghold of Congress.
At the same time, there are 8 assembly seats in Durg division. This includes Rajnandgaon, Dongargarh, Dongargaon, Khujji, Mohla-Manpur, Kabirdham-Kawardha, Pandariya and Khairagarh seats. BJP could win only Rajnandgaon seat in the 2018 elections, from where veteran party leader and former CM Dr. Raman Singh had won, while the remaining 7 seats went to Congress. Seen this way, BJP has nothing much to lose in the first phase, but this is the only way to return to power. If BJP is not able to regain its lost political support base in Bastar and Durg division areas, then it may face difficulties.
High profile seats of first phase
In the first phase of Chhattisgarh, not only Congress and BJP but also the senior leaders of both the parties will be tested. Former CM and veteran BJP leader Dr. Raman Singh has once again contested the elections from Rajnandgaon seat. This seat is considered the traditional seat of Raman Singh and he has been winning from here continuously since 2008. Apart from this, among the senior leaders of BJP, the credibility of former minister Kedar Kashyap on Narayanpur seat, former minister Lata Usendi on Kondagaon seat, former minister Mahesh Gagda on Bijapur seat and former minister Vikram Usendi on Bhanupratappur seat are at stake.
In the first phase itself, the real test will be held for the Muslim face of Congress and Mohammad Akbar, a minister in the Baghel government. Akbar has once again fielded from Kawardha seat whereas before 2018 this seat was held by BJP. The credibility of Congress state president and MP Deepak Baij is at stake on Chitrakote seat. Congress has fielded him in the assembly elections. Apart from this, the credibility of Minister Mohan Markam from Kondagaon and Minister Kawasi Lakhma from Konta seat is at stake. In this way, in the first phase, the credibility of three ministers of the Baghel government and the state president is at stake.
The rule of the state will be decided by the forest only.
In the politics of Chhattisgarh, the throne and crown of the state is decided by the forest. The 20 assembly seats for which elections are held in the first phase are surrounded by dense forests and hilly areas. 60 percent of Durg division is forest area, similarly the districts of Durg division are also considered as forest and Naxal affected areas. BJP has been coming to power in Chhattisgarh by winning from tribal dominated areas, but as soon as its grip got loose here, it lost power from its hands.
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Elections are considered very difficult for political parties in tribal dominated Bastar and Durg divisions. Apart from Congress-BJP, BSP, CPI, Chhattisgarh Janata Congress (Jogi), Aam Aadmi Party and tribal leader Arvind Netam’s Hamar Raj Party have also entered the electoral fray. This is the reason why all political parties have put all their efforts for the seats in the first phase.
In the first phase, the veterans used their strength.
Veteran leaders of Congress and BJP have worked hard to win 20 seats in the first phase. The experts campaigned included names ranging from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Priyanka Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. PM Modi has tried to influence the surrounding seats by campaigning in high profile seats like Kanker, Durg and Rajnandgaon. Apart from this, on behalf of BJP, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP President JP Nadda, Union Minister Smriti Irani, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and other leaders have tried to create an atmosphere in favor of the party by holding election rallies. .
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On the other hand, this time Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi held the lead from the Congress side. While Rahul Gandhi campaigned in Bastar and Raigarh, Priyanka Gandhi tried to create an atmosphere in favor of Congress by campaigning in Kharsia, Jagdalpur and Bilaspur. On behalf of Congress, the third veteran leader, party president Mallikarjun Kharge campaigned for Congress in Sukma and Mahasamund. Apart from this, Bhupesh Baghel has tried to create a political atmosphere by campaigning on all 20 assembly seats. In such a situation, now it has to be seen who wins this time between Congress and BJP in the first phase?