Sunday, June 16, 2024

Chhattisgarh Assembly polls: Final phase voting underway, CM Baghel in fray

The voting for the second and final phase of the elections in Chhattisgarh was underway on Friday for the remaining 70 seats in the 90-member Assembly.

The electoral fate of many prominent candidates, including the Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, his deputy T.S. Singh Deo, and BJP state president Arun Sao will be determined in this phase.

Over 18,800 polling stations have been set up for the voting that commenced from 8 a.m. and will continue till 5 p.m.

However, voting in nine polling booths — Kamarbhaudi, Amamora, Odh, Bade Gobra, Ganwargaon, Gariba, Nagesh, Sahbinkachhar, and Kodomali — in the Maoist-affected Bindranawagarh seat in Gariaband district will take place from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. due to security reasons.

A total of 958 candidates are in the fray across the 70 seats, including CM Baghel, deputy CM T.S. Singh Deo, eight state ministers, and four members of Parliament.

Like in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh is also witnessing a bipolar contest between the BJP and Congress.

The BJP’s campaign was largely spearheaded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who addressed four rallies in the state where he targeted the current Bhupesh Baghel-led government — especially over the issue of corruption and the alleged Mahadev betting app scam.

Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Rahul Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge along with state party leaders, including CM Bhupesh Baghel did extensive campaigning.

The first phase election for 20 out of 90 Assembly seats was conducted on November 7, which saw 78 per cent voter turnout. The counting will be held on December 3 along with four other poll-bound states — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Mizoram.

The BJP, which ruled the state continuously between 2003 and 2018, is seeking to replace the Congress government led by Chief Minister Bhupesh Bahgel.

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