In 2013, the margin of votes between BJP and Congress was 0.7%, while it was 1.75% in 2008.

 

Almost 40% of the existing 49 BJP MLAs in Chhattisgarh will not be given party tickets for the state Assembly elections that are slated for November this year.

Sources close to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, who has been given complete autonomy by the party leadership to confirm or deny tickets, said they will not be giving tickets to around 20-25 of the existing MLAs. This is being done to counter 15 years of anti-incumbency that the party is dealing with.

According to these sources, Raman Singh has identified the non-performing MLAs, who include at least four ministers of his Cabinet. He had collected inputs during his interactions with the voters and ground level party workers when he set out for his Gram Swarajya Yatra, Jan Jagran Yatra and Vikash Yatra.

Raman Singh is looking to create history in the state by becoming the only BJP CM to be in office for more than three complete terms. Singh had become the CM in 2003 for the first time. His party colleague and CM of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan had taken the oath of CM in November 2005.

From the tribal dominated region of Bastar and Surguja, which have 26 seats, Singh is likely to give a ticket to the chairman of the Youth Commission and the “King of Bastar”,“ Maharaj” Kamal Chandra Bhanjdeo in place of one of the non-performing MLAs. The royal family of Bastar region, which sends 12 MLAs to the Assembly, are revered by the local tribals and every year during Dussehra, people cutting across age groups and areas, come to touch the feet of their king and seek his blessings. This has been the tradition since time immemorial.

“The influence of the Bastar family in the area is very significant and the local tribal population will go by whatever suggestions come from the family. Having the support of the family will definitely help the BJP,” said Roshan Jha, who is a banker with a PSU and lives in Bastar.

With former CM Ajit Jogi, who is seen as a tribal leader, leaving the Congress and forming his own party, the BJP state leadership feels that it will be able to do much better in Bastar and Surguja this time than in 2013, when it won four and seven seats in Bastar and Surguja, respectively.

In the 2013 elections, the margin of votes between the Congress and the BJP was 0.7%, while it was 1.75% in 2008.

BJP national joint secretary and Chhattisgarh expert Saudan Singh, who is said to be the brain behind the party’s rise in the state and who takes care of the organisation, has started visiting the constituencies months in advance. According to party sources, he has been able to assuage the angry party workers who were having issues with local MLAs and some of the ministers.

“The party workers across the state were very disappointed and angry over the functioning of some of the MLAs, but Saudan Singh started meeting them by personally visiting their areas. If this exercise was not carried out, the workers would not have come out during the campaigning,” said a BJP ticket hopeful from Rajnandgaon constituency.

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