Cong may field local candidates in naxal-hit Bastar

Elections for the 90 assembly constituencies in Chhattisgarh are scheduled to be held this year-end

Congress President Rahul Gandhi speaks during Jungle Satyagraha Adivasi Rally at Pendra in Bilaspur, May 17, 2018. (PTI File Photo/AICC)

The Congress in Chhattisgarh may field local candidates to contest the crucial seats being held by the ruling BJP in the naxal-affected Bastar region, a party leader said Thursday.

The party's victory in all the 12 seats of Bastar, one of the worst Maoist-affected areas of India, will be important to ensure a Congress government in the BJP-ruled state, he said.

Elections for the 90 assembly constituencies in Chhattisgarh are scheduled to be held this year-end.

The Congress is weighing all probable candidature for the 12 seats of Bastar, of which 11 (Bijapur, Dantewara, Konta, Chitrakot, Bastar, Narainpur, Kondagaon, Keshkal, Kanker, Bhanupratappur, Antagarh) are reserved for scheduled tribes and one (Jagdalpur constituency) is unreserved, the party leader said.

The Congress has eight MLAs from the region in the Chhattisgarh Assembly whereas the ruling BJP has four.

"The Congress is not leaving any stone unturned to ensure its victory in Chhattisgarh. Winning all the 12 seats in Bastar will be advantageous for us.

"We are in the process of scanning its candidates for the poll and those with high chances of winning and those with good local connect may be given preference while finalising the names," another senior party leader from the state said.

In an interview to PTI last month, senior Congress leader T S Singh Deo had said that not all sitting legislators may get tickets to contest the upcoming assembly polls in Chhattisgarh.

The Congress is out of power since 2003 and its chief Rahul Gandhi is keen on revival of the party in the state.

Chief Minister Raman Singh has already started a mass-contact program to ensure his victory for the fourth time.

The Congress lost to the BJP in the 2013 elections as it could secure only 39 assembly seats out of the 90.

The ruling BJP got 49 seats and one each was won by the Bahujan Samaj Party and by an Independent candidate.

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Cong may field local candidates in naxal-hit Bastar

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