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Congress takes the lead in Chhattisgarh, CM Raman Singh trails from Rajnandgaon

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Of Chhattisgarh’s 90 seats, Congress is leading on 59, BJP on 24 and others on 9, suggest early trends.

New Delhi: Congress has taken a big lead in Chhattisgarh, in what could emerge as one of the major upsets in the five state assembly elections elections, counting for which began early Tuesday.

Three-time Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Chief Minister Raman Singh is trailing from his Rajnandgaon constituency.

Of the state’s 90 seats, Congress is leading on 59, BJP on 24 and others on 9, show early trends.

Although Singh was popular among the voters, the agrarian crisis in the state clubbed with unemployment and development issues, including power shortage, are likely to have played a major role.

The BJP is looking to make a comeback for the fourth time under Singh. The Congress hasn’t declared a chief ministerial candidate.

Ajit Jogi is the chief ministerial candidate for the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)-Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (JCC) combine.

Also read: In early trends, Congress looks set to snatch Hindi heartland from BJP

Crucial contest

The BJP had a tough task of fighting a three-term anti-incumbency. The elections are crucial for the Congress too, which has been out of power for the past 15 years in the state.

In previous elections, Chhattisgarh witnessed a direct contest between the BJP and the Congress, as reflected in vote margins. For instance, in 2003, the BJP had a vote share of 39.3 per cent while the Congress managed 36.7 per cent. The margin was 2.6 per cent. In 2008, BJP’s vote share stood at 40.33, while Congress secured 38.63 — the margin went down to 1.7 per cent. In 2013, BJP secured 41.04 per cent and Congress 40.29 per cent, with the margin being 0.75 per cent.

This time, the state saw a triangular fight with the entry of former chief minister Jogi’s JCC and Mayawati-led BSP.

During the campaign, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a number of rallies in the state.

Agrarian crisis, development, corruption, road connectivity, power shortage and Naxalism were key concerns that were picked up by the opposition to target the BJP government. The manifestos of both the Congress and the BJP put the spotlight on the farmers, considered a huge vote base.

The state voted in two phases — 12 and 20 November.

Also read: Today’s keenly-watched election results won’t tell us what 2019 will look like


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