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Lok Sabha Election 2019: Can BJP reverse 2018 election losses in Chhattisgarh

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Raipur, Apr 03: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which suffered a drubbing at the hands of the Congress in the Chhattisgarh elections last year, is now battling a stiff challenge from the Congress.

Lok Sabha Election 2019: Can BJP reverse 2018 election losses in Chhattisgarh

While the BJP's tally in the 90-member Assembly plummeted to just 15 seats, it fared well in the Lok Sabha polls (2004, 2009 and 2014) held after the formation of Chhattisgarh, winning 10 out of 11 seats all the three times.

The ruling Congress is looking to take up its tally of 1 seat and is hoping the voter mood in the assembly polls will reflect in Lok Sabha elections too.

In a boost for the Congress, the Janata Congress Chhattisgarh-J (JCCJ) led by Ajit Jogi has stepped out of the contest and the party believes that many of its 7% votes in the Assembly elections will shift to the Congress.

In the 2014 elections, the BJP had a massive 10.6 percentage vote share gain over the Congress, winning 49.7 per cent to the Congress's 39.1 per cent. In eight of the 11 seats that the BJP won, the margins were over 1.2 lakh votes.

Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel files poll code violation complaint against Modi

The BJP, however, has seemingly ripped up the old and started afresh, controversially removing all its 10 sitting MPs. The party intends to fight this election on the Prime Minister's popularity, with very little mention of the 15-year rule of Raman Singh.

Caste equation

Thirty percent of the state's population belong to Scheduled Tribes and 12.8 per cent belong to Scheduled Castes. An overwhelming 76.8 per cent live in rural areas. According to the Forest Survey of India (2009), 41.33 per cent of the state's geographical area is covered in forests. The state is also one of the worst-affected by Maoists in the country.

The crushing defeat of the 15-year-old Raman Singh government in the Assembly elections was mainly due to the proper strategy the Congress put in place in five reserved seats. Of these Bastar, Sarguja, Rajgarh and Kanker are earmarked for candidates of the Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Janjgir-Champa is a reserved one or Scheduled Castes (SC).

Chhattisgarh BJP govt let voters down

The previous BJP government in Chhattisgarh, led by Raman Singh, performed "poorly and underwhelmingly" on almost all governance parameters, including employment, public transport, agricultural infrastructure, and law and order, according to a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

In rural areas, the concerns were employment, availability of water and electricity for agriculture and the government performed below average on these as well, the report said.

The Maoist-hit state goes to polls in three phases April 11, 18 and 23.

Out of 11 Lok Sabha seats in the state, four are reserved for the Scheduled Tribe (ST) category and one for the Scheduled Caste (SC) category.

High on the recent assembly victory, an exuberant Congress is hopeful of winning all the 11 Lok Sabha seats in the upcoming polls.

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