Raipur: Congress' efforts to unseat BJP suffered a jolt with the defeat of its top leaders and many sitting MLAs in plains even as the opposition party managed to improve its tally in the naxal-infested Bastar region.
According to the latest tally, out of 90 seats that were up for grabs, BJP has won 49 seats, whereas Congress has won 39 seats. BSP and others have pocketed 1 seat each. BJP needs 46 seats to form government.
Though exit polls had predicted edge to Congress over BJP, the opposition party has failed to prevent Chief Minister Raman Singh from scoring a hat-trick and its exile from power for ten years.
The Leader of Opposition and six-time MLA Ravindra Choubey lost to BJP's Labhchand Bafna from Saja constituency in Bemetara district by a margin of 9,620 seats.
Choubey had held several ministerial portfolios during Congress rule in united Madhya Pradesh before its bifurcation, and had also served as a minister in Ajit Jogi's Cabinet.
Prominent tribal leader Rampukar Singh of Congress has lost to Shivshankar Paikra of BJP from Patthalgaon (ST) seat by 3,909 votes.
A teacher-turned-politician Rampukar is a Congress veteran who has won seven elections so far from the constituency which falls in Jashpur district.
After winning polls in 1977, he did not look back till 1991, when BJP candidate Laljit Singh defeated him. However, Rampukar bounced back in 1993 after Sunderlal Patwa government was dismissed following the demolition of Babri Masjid.
Another Congress stalwart and a tribal leader Bodhram Kanwar has lost to Lakhan Dewangan of BJP from Katghora seat in Korba district by 13,130 votes.
Interestingly, Congress had reposed faith in the old war horse, who has won six elections from the constituency, by going against the demand to field his son from the seat, apparently to avoid any risk.
Another tribal leader Premsai Singh Tekam was made to bite the dust by the BJP state unit president Ramsewak Paikra from Pratappur seat. Paikra won by 8143 votes.