A high-voltage campaign for the second and final phase of the Chhattisgarh Assembly polls, dominated by the matters of farmers, jobs, and corruption, came to an end on Sunday evening.
Polling will take place across 72 seats in 19 districts on November 20. In the first phase, polling was held for 18 seats in the eight Naxal-affected districts of the state on November 12. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), ruling the state for 15 years, and the main opposition Congress fielded their top leaders in the campaign. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath campaigned for the ruling party on the final day.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and BJP president Amit Shah had addressed rallies in the state on Saturday. The BJP top brass targeted the Gandhi family during the campaign for the “misrule” of 50 years. The Congress focussed on farmers’ matters, promising loan waiver, bonus on paddy procurement and setting up of food processing units.
Rahul Gandhi also saw Modi over the Rafale fighter jets deal and Chief Minister Raman Singh for the alleged PDS (Public Distribution System) and chit fund scams in the state. A total of 1,101 candidates are in the fray in the second phase.
The list comprises BJP ministers Brijmohan Agrawal (Raipur City South), Rajesh Munat (Raipur City West), Amar Agrawal (Bilaspur), Bhaiyyalal Rajwade (Baikunthpur), Ramsevak Paikra (Pratappur), Punnulal Mohile (Mungeli), Prem Prakash Pandey (Bhilai Nagar), Dayaldas Baghel (Nawagarh) and Ajay Chandrakar (Kurud) and state BJP president Dharamlal Kaushik (Bilha).
State Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel (Patan), Leader of Opposition in the Assembly T S Singh Deo (Ambikapur), Lok Sabha member from Durg Tamradhwaj Sahu (Durg Rural), former minister Charandas Mahant (Shakti) are among the key Congressmen whose fate will be decided in the second phase of polling.
Former chief minister Ajit Jogi, who has floated the Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J), is contesting from Marwahi, his wife Renu Jogi is in the fray from Kota, while his daughter-in-law Richa Jogi is a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) nominee from the Akaltara seat in the second phase of polling.
The coalition among the Mayawati-led BSP, Jogi’s JCC(J) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) has added a twist to the poll battle between the BJP and the Congress. In the second phase, the biggest number of 46 contestants are in the fray from the Raipur City South seat.
Of the 19 districts going to the polls on November 20, Gariaband, Dhamtari, Mahasamund, Kabirdham, Jashpur, and Balrampur have some Naxal presence. Extra security would be givenin these areas, a senior police official said. In the first phase, 76.28 percent voting was registered.