Raipur, Dec 12 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s rout in the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections took scalps of several party heavy weights, including eight ministers, while Chief Minister Raman Singh won by a narrow margin.
The eight ministers who lost their seats are Amar Agarwal, Prem Prakash Pandey, Kedarnath Kashyap, Rajesh Moonat, Ramsewak Paikra, Dayaldas Baghel, Bhaiyalal Rajwad and Mahesh Gagda.
Home Minister Ramsewak Paikra in Raman Singh-led government, which faced defeat in the state where the BJP was in power for the last 15 years, lost Pratappur seat to Congress’ Premsai Singh Tekam.
Culture and Tourism Minister Dayaldas Baghel lost Navagarh seat to his nearest Congress rival Gurudayal Singh Banjare.
Commercial Tax and Urban Development Minister Amar Agarwal faced defeat at the hands of Congress’s Shailesh Pandey in Bilashpur constituency, while Higher Education Minister Prem Prakash Pandey lost Bhilai Nagar seat to Congress’ Devendra Yadav.
Tribal and Scheduled caste Minister Kedarnath Kashyap lost Narayanpur seat to his Congress rival Chandan Kashyap, who bagged 58,652 votes and secured victory with a margin of 2,647 votes, while Public Works Department Minister Rajesh Moonat was defeated in Raipur West seat by Congress’s Vikash Upadhyay.
Labour and Sport Minister Bhaiyalal Rajwade lost Baikunthpur seat to his Congress rival Ambika Singh Deo, while Forest and Law Minister Mahesh Gagda was defeated in Bijapur seat by Congress’ Vikram Mandavi.
The BJP, however, had denied ticket to Women and Child Development Minister Ramsheela Sahu. Ajay Chandrakar, Brijmohan Agarwal and Punnulal Mohle won from their respective seats.
Counting of votes in the elections to the 90-member Assembly began at 8 a.m on Tuesday decided the fate of 1,269 candidates, including that of Chief Minister Raman Singh, who sent his resignation to the Governor before the final results were declared.
Around 76.35 per cent turnout was recorded in the two-phase polls held on November 12 and 20. It was a little less than the previous 2013 polls when 77.40 per cent of voters had exercised their franchise.
In the last Chhattisgarh Assembly election, the BJP had won 49 and Congress 39, while one seat each was bagged by the BSP and an Independent.