Chhattisgarh elections 2018: The interesting case of Kanker district
Raipur, Sept 25: The central Indian state of Raipur will go to the Assembly elections later this state. The state, which was carved out of Madhya Pradesh in 2000, has been under the rule of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since 2003. Led by Chief Minister Raman Singh, the saffron party is trying hard to win its fourth consecutive term and the top leadership is also sparing no effort to make it happen.
An interesting story of Chhattisgarh elections is that of Kanker, the southern district which is located near the Bastar region. Rich in natural resources, Kanker district has three Assembly constituencies and all of them are reserved for Scheduled Tribes (ST). After delimitation, the number of Assembly seats in Kanker district increased from two to three with Antagarh becoming the third. Earlier, the BJP had the two seats under their belt but in 2013, the Congress won two of the three seats with only Antagarh going to the ruling party.
However, Kanker is often in the news for the 2014 by-election in Antagarh where the Congress candidate Manturam Pawar withdrew in the last minute to give the BJP victory. In 2014, the Antagarh Assembly seat fell vacant after BJP's Vikram Usendi won from Kanker Lok Sabha seat and there was a need for a by-election. The BJP fielded Bhojraj Nag and he won by a margin of over 53,000 votes. NOTA (None of The Above) finished second with 13,556 votes which was more than Ambedkarite Party of India's Roopdhar Pando (12,285).
Congress candidate in by-election withdrew in the last moment
The withdrawal of Pawar had stunned his own partymen and he was expelled from the party. The Congress had alleged that a conspiracy was hatched to make Pawar give up his candidature. There were also reports that spoke about telephonic conversations purportedly between several influential people and also Pawar and they led to continued blame games between the political opponents.
BJP & Congress seats and vote shares in Kanker district constituencies
While the BJP had both Assembly seats in Kanker before delimitation, it won all three seats in the 2008 elections after Antagarh came into existence. In these seats, the BJP won 47 per cent of the vote-share in the district in 2003; 43 per cent in 2008 and 41 per cent in the 2013 Assembly elections.
The Congress, on the other hand, could win 33 per cent of vote share in Kanker district in 2003 though it had no seats. In 2008, its vote share decreased to 31 per cent while it continued to be seat-less. In 2013, as the Congress got two seats in Kanker, its vote share jumped to 45 per cent which is even better than the BJP's show in 2008 when it won all three seats in the district.