Raipur: Kawardha, the birthplace of BJP’s longest serving chief minister Raman Singh, is a part of Chhattisgarh’s Kabhirdham district. While the BJP has been winning the seat for the last two Assembly elections, this year’s election might turn out to be a close contest between the saffron party and the Congress.

In the 2013 Assembly elections, BJP candidate Ashok Sahu (93,645 votes) managed to defeat Congress’ Akbar Bhai (91,087 votes) by a margin of just 2,558 votes.

In the 2008 polls, BJP’s Dr Siyaram Sahu had defeated Congress candidate Yogeshwar Raj Singh by a margin of over 10,000 votes.

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In 2003, the seat was won by Congress’ Yogeshwar Raj Singh who had defeated BJP’s Sahu by a margin of around 4,000 votes.

This time, the BJP is again fielding Siyaram Sahu. Pitted against him are Mohammad Akbar of the Congress and the JCC’s (Janta Congress Chhattisgarh) Agam Das Anant.

Eyeing a fourth consecutive term, the BJP has set a target of winning 65 plus seats in the 90-member Assembly, while the Congress is seeking to end its 15-year exile from power in the tribal-dominated state.

The coalition between the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), former chief minister Ajit Jogi’s Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) has added a twist to the poll battle.

Polling in the state was held in two phases on November 12 and 20. The counting of votes will be held on December 11, along with four other states – Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mizoram and Telangana.