Raipur: The Bastar region that traditionally holds the key to power in Chhattisgarh delivered the mandate in favour of the Congress but the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had the last laugh. The party won Chhattisgarh with absolute majority paving way for Raman Singh to become the chief minister for the third consecutive term.
In the 90-member Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly, BJP would have 49 members while Congress that was desperate to return to power had to be satisfied with 39 seats. Ironically, the number remains the same as compared to last election. The Bahujan Samaj Party and a rebel BJP candidate shared one seat each. The results were however full of surprises.
The BJP was swept out in Bastar that comprised 12 constituencies with only four of its candidates winning. In the 2008 polls, the party bagged 11 out of 12 seats and formed the government with 49 members in the House; a difference of just 10 seats with opposition Congress. Following the Darba Naxal attack in which key Congress leaders were killed in May this year, the BJP managers had been predicting a heavy loss in Bastar. They concentrated more in the plains than the hilly pockets to compensate. The strategy worked.
“The Congress managed to improve its position in Bastar and Sarguja (both tribal pockets) but failed to concentrate in the plains where BJP performed well,” political analyst Sushil Kumar Trivedi said.
The anti-incumbency was not seen only for the ruling members but also for the opposition as many Congress stalwarts lost the elections, he added.
Another analyst from Bastar said the voters were silent that was a big surprise. “They came out in a large number; registered record polling,” he said, adding that now it could be established that it was against the ruling party.
Many political heavy weights including Leader of Opposition Ravindra Choubey, five senior ministers Nankiram Kanwar, Ramvichar Netam, Chandrashekhar Sahu, Hemchand Yadav and Lata Usendi lost the election. The senior Congress legislators including Bodhram Kanwar, Rampukar Singh, Tamradwaj Sahu and others also lost.
“The defeat of many senior legislators was a surprise as they were supposed to win comfortably,” Pradesh Congress Committee chief Charandas Mahant said. The sabotage theory was not ruled out, he said. The party would examine the matter later when review would take place, Mahant said.
The chief minister, Raman Singh attributed the victory to the people of Chhattisgarh and the good governance of the BJP government.
The myth related to the election results in Chhattisgarh had been sidelined. Without the support of Bastar, BJP is going to form the government. And BJP candidate from Bhatapara Shivratan Sharma had won the election while traditionally the winning candidate’s party had never formed the government.
While the result had been a setback for Congress, its opposition leader maintained the myth. The leader of opposition in Chhattisgarh has never won the election.