Crip­pling blow

FrontLine - - COVER STORY - BY DIVYA TRIVEDI

IN CH­HAT­TIS­GARH, THE CONGRESS DE­CI­SIVELY de­feated the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) by win­ning 68 of the 90 As­sem­bly seats, and brought to an end nearly 15 years of the lat­ter’s rule in the State. The party proved the exit polls wrong and gave its best per­for­mance in an As­sem­bly elec­tion since it lost the Lok Sabha elec­tion in 2014. The over­all vote share of the Congress in the State im­proved com­pared with the 2013 As­sem­bly elec­tions, when it won 39 seats against the BJP’S 49.

This time round, the BJP was re­duced to a mere 15 seats and at least six of its Min­is­ters lost. Three-time Chief Min­is­ter Ra­man Singh won from Ra­j­nandgaon con­stituency, al­beit with a re­duced vic­tory mar­gin, and, in a hum­ble ac­cep­tance of de­feat, said: “I wel­come the ver­dict of the peo­ple and also my good wishes to the Congress. I hope they will ful­fil the prom­ises they have made.”

The ver­dict proved that the Congress had suc­cess­fully reached out to all classes and com­mu­ni­ties in the State, a se­nior func­tionary of the party in Ch­hat­tis­garh told Front­line. He said: “If you look at the re­sults, every re­gion in the State voted for the Congress. Mem­bers of all classes and castes voted for us across the ru­ral and ur­ban di­vide.” He said that un­der the BJP, every sec­tion of so­ci­ety was af­fected in one way or the other. “Be­cause of un­em­ploy­ment and farm dis­tress, which was ex­ceed­ingly high, every sec­tor voted against the BJP and for the Congress,” he said. The Congress man­i­festo, called Jan Gosh­na­p­a­tra, or peo­ple’s man­i­festo, was re­port­edly pre­pared after elab­o­rate con­sul­ta­tions with mem­bers of every sec­tion of so­ci­ety.

THE DALIT EQUA­TION

The Ajit Jogi-mayawati com­bine did not do as well as they had hoped for, but it up­set the the BJP’S cal­cu­la­tions. While Jogi failed to emerge the king­maker he had

Wide­spread ru­ral dis­con­tent and pub­lic anger at the crony-cap­i­tal­ist poli­cies of the gov­ern­ment bring about the down­fall of the BJP in

Ch­hat­tis­garh.

CONGRESS gen­eral sec­re­tary in charge of Ch­hat­tis­garh, P.L. Pu­nia (front row, third from left), with State party chief Bhu­pesh Baghel to his right at a press con­fer­ence after the party’s vic­tory, in Raipur, on De­cem­ber 11. Baghel is a lead­ing con­tender for the Chief Min­is­ter’s post.

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