The first phase of polling witnessed over 70% voting in 18 constituencies on November 12.
With the conclusion of campaigning, candidates will now have to garner voters’ support by approaching electorates door-to-door. On the last day of campaigning, both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sent their bigwigs to the state in a last-ditch effort to woo voters.
Addressing a public rally in Mahasamund district, PM Narendra Modi accused the Congress of shedding crocodile tears over the plight of the farmers and spoke about the developmental work undertaken by the BJP government in the state.
Modi attacked the Gandhi family for its “dynastic rule”, saying Sitaram Kesari, a Dalit, was deputed party president and “what happened to him before Sonia Gandhi took over is known to everyone”.
Accusing the four generations of Congress of ‘destroying the country’, Modi asked the people whether they would support a party that has broken the dreams of their ancestors or the one that has fulfilled them. The Prime Minister said CM Raman Singh had rescued Chhattisgarh from the ‘Bimaru’ group and if he was given 15 more years, the state would “emerge as the top state of India”.
Meanwhile, Congress star campaigners led by Navjot Singh Sidhu and Raj Babbar addressed election rallies in many areas.
While the BJP has announced a “nava” (new) Chhattisgarh in its manifesto and free books and uniforms to students till Class 12, the Congress has promised to ban the sale of liquor if voted to power. Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has also announced waiving off farm loans within 10 days after coming to power.
The Janta Congress Chhattisgarh led by Ajit Jogi suffered a setback on Sunday as the party’s national treasurer Gajraj Pagaria joined the Congress in the presence on state incharge PL Punia. Pagaria was reportedly manhandled at Jogi’s bungalow on Saturday.
As the political temperature rose, Maoist attacks continued unabated in the state. The Left-wing extremists triggered an IED blast in Bhejji’s Eladmadgu area, injuring three DRG personnel on Sunday. The Naxalites targeted jawans who were out on a search operation and one of them is said to be critical.
Chhattisgarh, which has been ruled by the BJP since 2003, is going to polls with Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Mizoram. These elections are widely seen as a final bout before the Congress and the BJP lock horns in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.