Chhattisgarh is among the six states headed for staggered assembly polls in November-December this year. The six state elections will test the political temperature in India before a general election in early 2009. Congress has been losing ground to the BJP in state elections over the past year. The BJP is in power in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, and its performance is offering the Congress a chance to regain some political ground.
Incumbent governments in India often do badly in elections.
"Here the most important thing is that we elect such a government that implements programmes of the federal government. And properly utilizes the funds allocated by the federal government and particularly help our poor brothers and sisters. Present state government is of corrupt people and not of common man," Gandhi told a public rally in Bhillai.
Meanwhile the BJP released its poll manifesto in state capital Raipur.
"Carrying forward the successful implementation of our momentous plan of providing more than 10 million people with rice at the rate of rupees 3/kg, the Bharatiya Janata Party promises and has decided to provide rice at the rate of rupee 1/kg to extremely poor people. And also after the success of distribution of foodgrains at rupees 3/kg, we will now provide foodgrains to all people of the state at rupees 2/kg," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said, releasing the manifesto along with state Chief Minister Raman Singh.
Election to the Chhattisgarh assembly would be in two phases. For the first phase, 39 assembly seats from 10 districts will vote on November 14.
The second phase will witness polls for 51 seats from 8 districts on November 20 and the votes will be counted on December 8.
Chhattisgarh, one of the states most hit by a Maoist insurgency, could test whether voters punish Congress on what many Indians see as lax government security policies.