The race for power in Chhattisgarh on Monday appeared headed for a tight finish with ruling BJP and its principal challenger Congress having established lead in 44 and 42 constituencies respectiveky in the 90-member Assembly.
With a party needing 46 seats to secure a simple majority in the 90-member assembly, BJP was ahead in 44 seats while Congress in 42. Other parties were ahead in four seats--BSP in two and NCP and CPI in one each.
Among the political heavyweights of the two main parties who are leading are Chief Minister Raman Singh in Rajnandgaon, his predecessor Ajit Jogi in Marwahi, Home Minister Ram Vichar Netam in Ramanujganj (ST), Speaker Prem Prakash Pandey in Bhilai city, Sports Minister Brij Mohan Agarwal (Raipur City South) and Health Minister Amar Agarwal (Bilaspur).
However, state BJP chief Vishnu Dev Sahai was trailing in Pathalganj constituency after having led initially against senior Congress leader Rampukar Singh.
Similarly, PCC President Dhanendra Sahu and the Leader of the Opposition Mahendra Karma were behind their BJP challengers in Avantpur and Dantewada constituencies respectively. PCC Working President Satya Narayan Sharma also trailed in Raipur rural constituency.
Karma was trailing behind BJP's greenhorn Dhimaram Mandami in the Naxal-infested constituency. Ajit Jogi's wife Renu established lead in Kota constituency against Moolchand Khandelwal of BJP.
In four seats in Korba district, Congress and BJP were leading in two each while Congress was ahead in seven of the 13 seats in Raipur district as against BJP in five and BSP in one. Congress also led in Dhalsiwa constituency which was held by BJP. Out of the eight seats in Sarguja district, BJP led in six while Congress in two. In two seats in Jaspur, BJP and Congress was ahead in one each.