Chhattisgarh elections: BJP relies on Raman Singh, Congress on anti-incumbency and Ajit Jogi on the third front

Chhattisgarh polls are again about its Chief Minister Raman Singh who for 15 years has dominated the state's scene. It is also about Singh's ‘frenemy’ leader Ajit Jogi and his never-ending battles with the Congress.

This time Jogi has formed a 'third front' by joining hands with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party, which could be a big stumbling block for the Congress' bid to unseat Singh’s government. Jogi asserts he is fighting to end the BJP's rule but his detractors think that he is again bailing out Singh.

Nevertheless, a rejuvenated Congress under Rahul Gandhi hopes to cash in on what it sees as a strong anti-incumbency mood among the electorate. It thinks Jogi and his Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (JCC) are on the decline because their role is seen as spoilers preventing change.

A third factor that remains in the background, particularly in certain hill areas, is the role of Maoists whose waning influence is punctuated by intermittent deadly attacks. The Maoists are not just against the elections. They have put up posters, directly threatening people against voting for the BJP.

Chhattisgarh has an assembly of 91 seats. It goes to poll on November 12 when the first phase of voting will take place for 18 seats, 12 of which are located in the Naxalite-hit Bastar region and Rajnandgaon. The second phase, which will cover the remaining seats, will take place on November 20.


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