Cong set to increase tally in Maoist hotbed of Bastar

Congress party workers celebrate the party's good show in the Assembly elections of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, at AICC headquarters in New Delhi, Tuesday, Dec 11, 2018. (PTI Photo)

The Congress is set to win 11 out of 12 seats in the Maoist hotbed of Chhattisgarh where it had lost almost entire state leadership in a Maoist ambush five years ago.

While Congress candidates were led by significant margin of votes over their rival BJP candidates in all the 11 constituencies in the Maoist-hit Bastar region, slain salwa judum architect Mahendra Karma’s wife Devati Karma remained locked in a close battle with her nearest rival BJP candidate Bhima Mandavi, who was leading with just 2,520 votes during the last leg of counting for Dantewada seat.

The BJP had won a total of four out of 12 seats in the last elections while the remaining were with the Congress.

Mahesh Gagda, a minister in the Raman Singh’s government, appeared to have lost the battle to his Congress rival Vikram Mandavi who was leading with a margin of 21,000 votes at Bijapur constituency.

Congress candidate Anup Nag was leading at Antagarh constituency with a margin of over 9,000 votes over his nearest BJP rival Vikarm Usendi.

BJP’s sitting MLA Santosh Bafna, who won the Jagdalpur seat twice consecutively since 2008, appears to be losing the fight this time to Congress’ Rekhchand Jain. Having secured over 76,000 votes, Jain was leading with a margin of over 27, 000 votes.

BJP’s Kedar Kashyap, another sitting MLA and a minister in the Raman Singh government, remained locked in a close battle with his nearest Congress rival Chandan Kashyap at Narayanpur constituency.

Elections were held for these 12 seats along with six other constituencies in the first phase on November 12 amid tight security with the Maoists giving a call for poll boycott.

Defying Maoists threats, however, electors made a beeline to polling booths and exercised their franchise. The overall voters turnout in the first phase of polling reached 76.28%, showing an increase in the turnout by 0.35% over that of the last assembly elections.

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Cong set to increase tally in Maoist hotbed of Bastar

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