Chhattisgarh: Maoist den that votes on Monday is Congress stronghold despite Raman Singh

Chhattisgarh: Maoist den that votes on Monday is Congress stronghold despite Raman Singh

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh’s constituency Rajnandgaon goes to polls on Monday, November 12 along with 17 other assembly segments. Chhattisgarh is the first of the five states to vote in the assembly polls. It is also the only state to vote in two phases – November 12 and November 20.

Eight of 27 districts of Chhattisgarh would vote on November 12. According to the latest report of the Union Home Ministry on the state of left wing extremism or Maoist insurgency, these eight districts are among the worst affected ones in the country. The status report was released in April this year.

These Chhattisgarh districts are – Bastar, Sukma, Dantewada, Bijapur, Kanker, Kondagaon, Narayanpur, Rajnandgaon, Sukma. Recent assembly elections give the Congress an advantage in these Maoist affected areas. The Congress holds 12 of the 18 assembly constituencies going to the polls in the first phase in Chhattisgarh. Rest six seats are with the BJP.

Of 18 seats going to the polls in the first phase on November 12, 12 are in the Bastar region that is considered a Maoist den and has been the scene of major attacks in recent years. Sukma, Dantewada and Bastar are the worst-hit by Maoist violence.

The Congress holds an edge in the entire Bastar region holding eight against four seats of the BJP.

  • Bastar – Congress
  • Dantewara – Congress
  • Konta – Congress
  • Bijapur -BJP
  • Narayanpur – BJP
  • Kondagaon – Congress
  • Keshkal – Congress
  • Kanker – Congress
  • Bhanupratappur – Congress
  • Antagarh – BJP
  • Bastar – Congress
  • Chitrakot – Congress
  • Jagdalpur – BJP

Besides, there are six other seats in Rajnandgaon district, the home turf of Chief Minister Raman Singh. He has won past two elections from Rajnandgaon assembly seat in Chhattisgarh. But despite Raman Singh’s presence, the Congress holds four of the six seats in the district.

  • Khairagarh – Congress
  • Dongargaon – Congress
  • Khujji – Congress
  • Mohla Manpur – Congress
  • Dongargarh – BJP
  • Rajnandgaon – BJP

Election Commission versus Maoists

While the security agencies are trying to ensure successful election in Chhattisgarh, the Maoists have stepped up their activities carrying out at least two major attacks on security forces in past 15 days. On October 30, mediapersons covering Chhattisgarh assembly polls were targeted. A cameraman and three police personnel lost their lives.

However, a slightly different war is also going on in Chhattisgarh assembly constituencies going to polls on November 12. The election officials and the Maoists are fighting a poster war. The walls and hoardings are the battleground.

The Election Commission officials have put out posters and hoardings calling the assembly polls as Vote Pandlum, which means Festival of Vote in Gondi language, spoken by tribal people of the region.

The Maoists have put out posters asking the people to boycott election. Sukma and Dantewada, the strongholds of the Maoists, are flooded with posters asking people to stay away from voting on November 12.

To counter the Maoist influence, the administration has sought help of the local self-help groups run by women activists. These self-help groups have been promised a waiver of five per cent on their debts if they convince people in the Maoist-affected areas to come to the polling booths and vote.

Many of these voting booths had registered less than 10 per cent votes in 2013 assembly polls in Chhattisgarh. Some of them recorded no votes at all. Their number is more than 40.

In Dantewada, polling booths have been set up for the first time in some of the hyper-sensitive Maoist-affected areas in the last 20 years.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh is hoping to win election for the BJP fourth consecutive time in the state. (Photo: PTI)

How BJP, Congress are placed

In the last assembly election in Chhattisgarh, the BJP won 49 of 90 seats. The Congress won 39, the BSP got one while the other seat went to an Independent candidate.

The BJP hopes to win fourth consecutive election in Chhattisgarh, while the Congress is banking on anti-incumbency sentiments to get back to power in the state.

In the second phase of voting, 72 seats will go to the polls in Chhattisgarh. The BJP and the Congress are in direct fight for power in Chhattisgarh even though former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi has entered into an alliance with the BSP of Mayawati for the assembly election.

Votes would be counted on December 11 for all five states. Other states going to polls are Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mizoram and Telangana.

Also Read | Election dates for Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Telangana out, results on Dec 11

Farmers will vote Congress to power in Chhattisgarh: Leader of Opposition

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