New Delhi: Chhattisgarh went to polls in two phases last month to decide whether the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) retains a fourth straight term or the Congress returns to power after 15 years.
Defying Naxal threat to boycott the elections, voters came out in large number to exercise their franchise, even in areas like Bastar and Dantewada, which have witnessed a sharp spike in Maoist activities in the recent past.
The state is for the first time witnessing a three-way electoral contest with arch-rivals Congress and the BJP battling it out, with the alliance of Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi’s Janta Congress Chhattisgarh potentially turning out to be the third force.
While the counting of votes on December 11 will decide the winner, Zee News’ Maha Exit Poll will give a viewpoint of who will form the next government in the state.
The BJP, vying for a fourth straight term, has 49 seats in the outgoing Assembly, the Congress 38 and the BSP one in the 90-member Assembly.
Eyeing his fourth consecutive term as chief minister, Raman Singh is contesting from Rajnandgaon seat where his main rival is Congress’ Karuna Shukla, the niece of former prime minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
During the campaign for the polls, BJP leaders highlighted how Naxalism, which was at its peak during the Congress rule in the state, was contained during the last 15 years and also the development works taken up by the government.
Top BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union minister Smriti Irani, campaigned for the saffron party and highlighted various achievements of the Raman Singh government.
On the other side, the Congress accused the BJP of “failing” to control the Naxal menace and referred to the chit fund and civil supply scams. It also targeted the chief minister’s son Abhishek Singh over his alleged offshore assets.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi had held five rallies and a road show while campaigning for the first phase of the Assembly polls.