Highlights

  • Baghel eyes 2nd term in 90-seat Chhattisgarh
  • Congress currently holds 71 seats in the state assembly

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Chhattisgarh election 2023: Bhupesh Baghel's good governance test, will he pass or fail? 

The exit polls have given a clear advantage to the Congress as the incumbent CM Bhupesh Baghel has promised a slew of pro-people steps if he returns to power. But if the predictions come true the Congress would have to find a plan to accomodate TS Deo. 

Chhattisgarh election 2023: Bhupesh Baghel's good governance test, will he pass or fail? 

Chhattisgarh will witness a 2-cornered contest between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress for the 90-seat assembly.

In 2018, Congress rode the strong anti-incumbency wave to throw BJP out who had ruled the state for 15 years.

The grand old party currently holds 71 seats in the state assembly and is aiming to better its tally by winning 75 seats in the upcoming elections on the back of pro-farmer, pro-tribal and pro-poor schemes.

Here are the factors that might decide who wins the state

- Baghel's popularity

While BJP has been banking on the Modi factor in state elections, chief minister Baghel's popularity in Chhattisgarh might give Congress an extra edge.

Baghel, who has developed his image as the son of the soil, has a significant hold over Other Backward Classes and rural voters. This might hurt the BJP as it tries to make a comeback after facing defeat in the last election.

- Hindutva

BJP stuck to their Hindutva narrative in Chattisgarh too as they highlighted the incidents of communal violence under the present Congress regime and alleged religious conversions in tribal-dominated areas.

Baghel, on the other hand, successfully countered BJP's long-used political rhetoric of cows and Lord Ram with the Godhan Nyay Yojana and Ram Van Gaman Tourism Circuit projects

- OBC reservation

OBCs make up 52% of the state's population and have been demanding a 27% quota.

The issue became a matter of concern for the ruling Congress when the Chhattisgarh High Court last year set aside a 2011 order that raised the overall quota in the state to 58% since it breached the 50% reservation ceiling limit. Baghel's government challenged the High Court decision in the Supreme Court and enacted amendments under which the STs were given 32%, OBCs 27%, & SCs 13%.

While the 2 bills are awaiting the governor's assent, the Supreme Court had directed the government in May to continue to implement 58% reservation.

- BJP lacking leadership in the state

In the last 5 years where Congress has strengthened its organisational set-up, the BJP have struggled to put their house in order. Since the 2018 assembly polls, the party has

changed its state chief thrice and also changed its leader of opposition in 2022.

The saffron party has also virtually sidelined Raman Singh, whose last tenure as CM between 2013 and 2018 was rocked by alleged civil supplies scam and chit fund scam.

- Corruption

Congress government is facing allegations of corruption in coal transportation, liquor sale, District Mineral Foundation (DMF) fund utilisation and Public Service Commission recruitment in the state.

The Enforcement Directorate is also investigating a money laundering case related to an illegal online gaming/betting app. Several Bollywood celebrities were summoned by ED in connection with the Mahadev betting scam case that has marred the reputation of Baghel's government.

Top BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and party president J P Nadda accused Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel of turning Chhattisgarh into an ‘ATM’ for the Congress.

- Welfare

Three flagship pro-farmer schemes have helped the Congress consolidate its position in the rural and semi-urban areas. They have promised welfare schemes worth Rs 47000 crores for the farmers. Meanwhile, the BJP has announced schemes amounting to Rs 38,000 for the welfare of the state’s farmers.


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