Dharampura: The counting of votes for Naxal-affected Chitrakot Assembly seat in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh ended and the ruling Congress candidate Ramjan Benzam won the constituency by a margin of 17,862 votes, securing a total of 62,097 votes against BJP’s Kashyap who managed 44,235 votes.

Naxal-affected Chitrakot Assembly seat in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh went to by-polls on Monday, October 21, and recorded a voter turnout of 74.39 per cent. The counting of votes for the reserved assembly seat has begun amid tight security outside the Women Polytechnic College, Dharampura at the Bastar district headquarters.

Vote counting trends depicted a tough battle between the Congress and the BJP. Interestingly, the Congress’ victory came less than a month after the Dantewada result. With this, the BJP has been wiped out completely from the tribal divisions of Sarguja and Bastar in Chhattisgarh.

“A three-layer security has been arranged at the counting centre,” a poll official had said earlier today, adding that postal ballots will be counted first.

The main contest lies between Congress’ Rajman Benzam and former legislator Lachhuram Kashyap of the BJP, as Congress wrestles to consolidate its strength and retain power in Chhattisgarh.

A total of 229 polling booths were set up and about 4,500 extra troopers were deployed to allow nearly 167,911 electors to exercise their franchise sealing the fate of six candidates. Voting was conducted in a peaceful manner, barring minor incidents of vote tampering.

The by-poll was necessitated after the election of Congress MLA Deepak Baij in the Lok Sabha elections 2019 from Bastar parliamentary constituency.

Bastar has a total of 12 assembly seats and Chitrakot, a mineral-rich zone, and tribal stronghold is one of the key seats that the BJP aims to win. However, the Congress is equally poised to retain the seat.

The BJP and the Congress had conducted high-voltage electioneering in the Chitrakot constituency. Chhattisgarh’s former chief minister Raman Singh was the star campaigner for the BJP while Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel led the campaign for the Congress.

Notably, in last year’s state polls in Chhattisgarh, the Congress had won 68 seats while the BJP managed to bag 15.