The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fielded Durg MP Vijay Baghel in Chhattisgarh’s Patan, a seat represented by his uncle and Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, setting up a high-voltage contest.
The BJP released the first list of candidates for 21 seats on Thursday a day after the party’s Central Election Committee (CEC) meeting in New Delhi. The Election Commission of India is yet to announce the poll schedule for Chhattisgarh where the Assembly elections are due this year.
“I thank my party’s leadership for giving me this responsibility and believing me,” Vijay Baghel said after the list came out.
Reacting to BJP’s list, CM Baghel said, “I came to know that they (BJP) have released the first list of 21 candidates (for the upcoming Chhattisgarh assembly elections), but there is nothing special.”
However, it is not clear if CM Baghel will contest from the Patan seat. In the face-to-face contest between two leaders from Patan, Bhupesh Baghel won the seat in 2003, 2013 and 2018. In 2008, Bhupesh lost the seat to Vijay Baghel.
BJP Releases First List of Candidates for Chhattisgarh Polls
The BJP is eyeing a comeback in Chhattisgarh where they remained in power for 15 years. There are 16 fresh faces in the list while five candidates are former MLAs. The list contains five women.
The election schedule for the 90-member Chhattisgarh assembly is yet to be announced.
Of the 21 seats for which nominees were announced by the BJP, ten are reserved for Scheduled Tribes (ST) and one for Scheduled Castes (SC). All these 21 seats are currently held by the ruling Congress.
Vijay Baghel also heads the 31-member `Ghoshna Patra Samiti’ or poll manifesto committee of the BJP for the coming polls.
Former Chhattisgarh minister Ramvihcar Netam would contest from Ramanujganj (ST) seat where he had suffered defeat in 2013 against incumbent Congress MLA Brihaspat Singh. Both Vijay Baghel and Netam did not contest the 2018 assembly elections.
BJP spokesperson Devlal Halwa Thakur would contest from Daundi Lohara (ST) seat while former MLAs Sanjeev Shah, Shravan Markam and Lakhanlal Dewangan would contest from Mohla-Manpur (ST), Sihawa (ST) and Korba seats, respectively.
Rajnandgaon Zila Panchayat president Geeta Ghasi Sahu has been fielded from Khujji seat while Rajnandgaon Zila Panchayat vice president Vikrant Singh, a relative of senior BJP leader and former chief minister Raman Singh, will contest from Khairagarh seat.
The other candidates in the list are Bhulan Singh Maravi (from Premnagar seat), Prabhoj Minj (Lundra-ST), Mahesh Sahu (Kharsia), Harishchandra Rathiya (Dharamjaigarh- ST), Pranav Kumar Parpachhi (Marwahi- ST), Indrakumar Sahu (Abhanpur), Rohit Sahu (Rajim), Asharam Netam (Kanker-ST), Maniram Kashyap (Bastar-ST), Laxmi Rajwade (Bhatgaon), Shakuntala Singh Porthe (Pratappur- ST), Sarla Kosaria (Saraipali- SC) and Alka Chandrakar (Khallari).
Senior journalist and political analyst R Krishna Das said the BJP seemed to have declared candidates in the first list for the seats where there were not much differences within the party over the nominees.
While in 2018 the saffron party had drawn blank in all 21 seats, even in 2013 (when it retained power in the state) it had suffered defeat in 16 of these seats, he noted.
Declaration of candidates so early will benefit the candidates who will have sufficient time for preparations, he added.
(With PTI inputs)