BJP talks development in Chhattisgarh; for opposition unemployment and agrarian crisis an issue
New Delhi, Oct 16: Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh are going to be very interesting with a triangular contest in the state. Besides the Congress and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led by Raman Singh, former chief minister of the state Ajit Jogi is in the fray along with his alliance partners like Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)-led by Mayawati and the Communist Party of India. Raman Singh is seeking the fourth term in a state that has been electing the government with one or two per cent vote difference. The Chhattisgarh Assembly polls will be held in two phases on November 12 and 20 and the counting of votes will be taken up on December 11.
CM facing anti-incumbency but still firmly in saddle
The BJP is talking about schemes of the central government right from Mudra Yojna to Health scheme and also the achievement of the state government during the election campaign. But despite 15 years' anti-incumbency, Chhattisgarh chief minister is still very popular among people. However, the intra-party rivalry is making things little difficult for him but he is still firmly in the saddle. Amid all this distress among farmers is denting his popularity. The CM known for his effective PDS and distribution of rice and other grains is likely to bear the brunt in rural areas. The government has also launch scheme of distributing 50 lakh smartphone to people so they can know about the scheme of the government. Sources said that BJP leaders are not getting encouraging reports from the rural areas due to anti-incumbency. But the CM and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi are still popular.
What are the issues for opposition political parties?
Leaders from the Congress and other opposition parties are taking up the issue of low human development indicators. Corruption at low-level is being raised by many in the state. The issue of unemployment is also being talked about the Congress and others with Chhattisgarh seeing 118,000 lakh new voters and for these young people lack of job options is a major cause of concern. As per the official data, 25 lakh people have registered with various employment exchanges in the state. Moreover, it is alleged that the government has turned dilatory after three terms in the state. So it is time for the government to go.
Agrarian distress increasing in Chhattisgarh
In the rural areas of the state, the agrarian distress is increasing and it is likely to be the key issue with nearly 1,500 farmers have committed suicide in the past three years. Around 96 tehsils in 21 districts in the state were declared drought-hit in September last year and Chhattisgarh received 12.8 per cent less rainfall, as compared to the last 10 years. Inadequate rainfall during the Kharif crop last year affected over 11 lakh farmers in the state. Last year's drought forced farmers and even agricultural labourers from different parts of the state to migrate to urban centres in search of livelihood. Those who have remained in Chhattisgarh feel like they've been backed into corners by their misfortune. Farmers in the state have been protesting for the past four years, demanding hikes in the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy, bonus and free electricity for water pumps that use up to 5 HP.
Caste factor in the state too works
In 2013 elections, the Congress was behind BJP just by around 0.7 per cent votes, a margin that the Congress feels could be managed this time around. Dalits (Satnamies) and tribals form the core vote base of the Congress and around 65 per cent of its votes come from this segment. The BJP banks on upper caste and backward caste votes and get around 70 per cent of its votes from them. Congress appointed Tamradhwaj Sahu, a backward caste leader as a member of Congress Working Committee and head of its OBC Cell. The Chhattisgarh PCC president is a Kurmi, Bhupesh Bhagel, while the general secretary in-charge PL Punia is a Dalit. National secretary in-charge of the state is Chandan Yadav. Congress is trying to woo Kurmis and Yadavs, who form a sizable population of the state. This is an attempt by the Congress to make a dent in the OBC support base of the BJP.
New alignment in state with CPI-JCC(J) and BSP joining hands
The Communist Party of India entered into an alliance with Ajit Jogi's outfit Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) for the Assembly polls. Earlier, Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party had forged an alliance with Jogi's outfit, as part of which the BSP will fight 35 seats while the Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) will contest the remaining 55 seats in the 90-member Assembly.
CPI joining the JCC (J)-BSP has made it a 'mahagatbandhan' (grand alliance) of the shorts in the state which has added the strength of the alliance and poll prospects in the Bastar region and areas with labour-intensive factories. The alliance wants its government in the state to work in the interest of Dalits, Adivasis, the poor, villagers, farmers, labourers and minorities and to take decisions for the welfare of people of Chhattisgarh. They claim that over 50 per cent of the state's population continued to live below the poverty line despite 15 years of BJP rule. Under the new alliance the JCC (J)-BSP will support candidates of the CPI in Konta and Dantewada while the Left party and affiliated labour unions will campaign for the former's candidates in Chitrakoot and Bijapur in Bastar division and industrial areas like Korba and Bhilai Nagar. The development is being seen as a blow to the Congress which was planning to forge a grand alliance in Chhattisgarh.
Offensive against Naxalism an achievement for the government
The Chhattisgarh government has been claiming that it has dealt with Maoists sternly making the life of villagers fearless and taking development to the areas where it was not reached earlier. The BJP claims that this is the reason that people in the Naxal-affected areas support the BJP and its presence is increasing in those areas.