Raipur: The opposition Congress was in an upbeat mood in Chhattisgarh Sunday afternoon with party candidates leading in 45 seats in the 90-member assembly.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been in the power here since 2003, was leading in 43 seats in a close contest.
The counting trends till noon kept up the anxiety of the ruling BJP and Congress leaders in the state, with a tough fight between both sides.
However, Congress leaders were sure of returning to power after being in the opposition for 10 years.
At 12.30 p.m. (as per official statistics), the Congress was leading in 45 constituencies against the BJP's tally of 43 in trends available for all 90 assembly seats.
Candidates from other parties and independents were leading on two seats. The half-way mark for the assembly is 45 seats.
In vote share terms, the Congress was ahead with 41.17 percent votes against the BJP's 40.7 percent.
Congress candidate Lakeshwar Baghel was leading the Bastar assembly seat by over 15,000 votes against his BJP rival.
Umesh Patel, the Congress candidate from Kharsia assembly seat and son of slain Chhattisgarh Congress president Nand Kumar Patel, was ahead of his opponents with a big margin.
The Congress was leading in eight out of the 12 seats in the Maoist-affected Bastar region till afternoon. In 2008 assembly elections, BJP had won 11 out of 12 seats in the area.
The Congress and the BJP were in a neck-and-neck race in the trends after the first few rounds of counting.
Chief Minister Raman Singh was leading over his Congress rival Alka Uday Mudliyar in Rajnandgaon by over 15,000 votes.
In Durg city constituency, Congress candidate Arun Vora, the son of senior Congress leader Moti Lal Vora, was ahead of his BJP rival by just over 1,100 votes.
Former chief minister and Congress leader Ajit Jogi's wife Renu Jogi and son Amit Jogi were also leading in the Kota and Marwahi constituencies respectively.
The BJP had 50 seats against the 38 of the Congress in the outgoing assembly.
--Indo-Asian News Service