New Delhi: Of the 11 Lok Sabha seats in Chhattisgarh, the BJP was ahead in nine while the Congress led in the remaining two. The saffron party was ahead of its rivals in Raipur, Durg, Rajnandgaon, Raigarh, Surguja, Korba, Janjgir-Champa, Kanker and Bilaspur seats. Its rival is leading in the Naxal-hit Bastar and in Mahasamund seats.
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The BJP, therefore, might just better its 2014 performance where it had won 10 seats. Following its defeat in the Assembly polls, the saffron party had replaced all sitting MPs and fielded fresh faces for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in the state.
The BJP’s decision to change all candidates was seen as a move to beat the anti-incumbency factor. The state went to poll in three phases and an impressive 68.66% polling was recorded from the states, even in the Naxal-affected Bastar.
A total of 166 candidates were in the fray. The key issues in the state were farmers and tribal welfare policies. One of the key constituencies in the state is the capital city of Raipur where BJP’s Ramesh Bais enjoys considerable political clout.
He has represented the constituency seven times. However, for 2019 polls, BJP dropped Bias in favour of a fresh face, Sunil Soni, who will be facing Pramod Dubey of the Congress.
In the Naxal-affected Bastar constituency, as many as eight candidates are contesting. A day before the first phase of voting, BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi and four policemen were killed in an IED explosion in Dantewada.