Raman Singh claims a hat-trick for BJP

  • Pradip Kumar Maitra, Hindustan Times, Raipur
  • Updated: Dec 10, 2013 16:13 IST
  • Shivraj Singh Chouhan being garlanded as his partymen celebrate the BJP

    Dance of democracy

    Shivraj Singh Chouhan being garlanded as his partymen celebrate the BJP's third consecutive victory in the state assembly elections in Bhopal. (AFP)

  • Aam Aadmi Party supporters hold brooms, the party symbol, in the air as they celebrate outside the AAP office in New Delhi. (AFP)

    Dance of democracy

    Aam Aadmi Party supporters hold brooms, the party symbol, in the air as they celebrate outside the AAP office in New Delhi. (AFP)

  • BJP

    Dance of democracy

    BJP's candidate for Delhi chief minister, Harsh Vardhan waves to his supporters in New Delhi. (Reuters)

  • Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh flashes hat-trick sign in Raipur. (PTI)

    Dance of democracy

    Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh flashes hat-trick sign in Raipur. (PTI)

  • A BJP supporter carries sweets to distribute as party supporters celebrate its victory in various state assembly elections in Allahabad. (AP)

    Dance of democracy

    A BJP supporter carries sweets to distribute as party supporters celebrate its victory in various state assembly elections in Allahabad. (AP)

  • Rajasthan BJP President Vasundhara Raje waves to supporters on her arrival in Jaipur. (PTI)

    Dance of democracy

    Rajasthan BJP President Vasundhara Raje waves to supporters on her arrival in Jaipur. (PTI)

  • BJP supporters celebrate following the results of four state assembly elections in Amritsar. (AFP)

    Dance of democracy

    BJP supporters celebrate following the results of four state assembly elections in Amritsar. (AFP)

  • BJP

    Dance of democracy

    BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi flashes a victory sign on arriving at the BJP HQ in New Delhi. (PTI)

  • Supporters of AAP celebrate by throwing coloured powder outside their party office in New Delhi. (AFP)

    Dance of democracy

    Supporters of AAP celebrate by throwing coloured powder outside their party office in New Delhi. (AFP)

  • Dancers perform during the celebrations outside the headquarters of India

    Dance of democracy

    Dancers perform during the celebrations outside the headquarters of India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party in New Delhi. (Reuters)

  • BJP workers celebrate their party

    Dance of democracy

    BJP workers celebrate their party's victory in the Rajasthan assembly elections in Jaipur. (PTI)

  • Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh joins in party supporters after the BJP

    Dance of democracy

    Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh joins in party supporters after the BJP's win in the assembly elections in Raipur. (PTI)

  • BJP workers celebrate the party

    Dance of democracy

    BJP workers celebrate the party's victory in the state assembly elections in Jodhpur on Sunday. (PTI)

  • A man unfurls the BJP

    Dance of democracy

    A man unfurls the BJP's flag as supporters celebrate the party's victory in the Delhi assembly elections. (AP)

Chhattisgarh’s “Chaurwale Baba”, chief minister Raman Singh, has finally touched his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi’s record – three straight wins for the BJP in the state. And he has done despite the sympathy wave for the Congress, mostly on his own steam.

While Singh’s “Mr Clean” image in the state’s rather murky political scenario has helped, what really worked in his favour were the party’s welfare measures: Dirt cheap rice, free salt and healthcare for the poor.

Singh thanked the people of Chhattisgarh for BJP's imminent hat-trick in the assembly elections in the state and said they had once again shown faith in the development works of his government.

"It is a historic day and I express my gratitude to the people," Singh told reporters as the party seemed poised to secure majority after a closely contested battle with Congress.

In the latest trends tally, the BJP was leading on 48 seats while the Congress was ahead on 40 in the 90-member assembly. Earlier, at one time, the Congress was leading on 49 seats.

READ: Jogi to face flak as Congress fails to wrest power in Chhattisgarh

Vote for populist steps is a trend on its way out in the rest of the country. But in a state where getting two square meals a day is an uphill task for a chunk of the population, it worked like a charm. The people have indeed reposed faith in the “Chaurwale Baba” -- as he is known among the rural poor -- and his rice at just Rs 2/3 a kg.

This was not a day envisaged perhaps even by Singh himself, when he undertook the challenge of leading the Chhattisgarh BJP in 2003, after the new state was formed.

The mighty Ajit Jogi, after all, was leading the Congress. And Singh was just a Central minister in then NDA government from the undivided Madhya Pradesh.

READ: Five Chhattisgarh ministers bite the dust

But Singh took the venture to heart. And he has not looked back. Nothing has rained on his parade – neither the civil society criticisms about his Salwa Judum model to tackle Maoists, nor the opposition charges of corruption against his government.

READ: Despite BJP win Cong dominates Chhattisgarh's worst-hit Naxal area

In fact, even while the opposition targets BJP ministers “as most corrupt politicians” -- state chief secretary Sunil Kumar even going on record saying “most the state ministers are corrupt” -- they are cautious about targeting Singh.

Will this third victory now establish Singh as an alternative to Modi within the BJP, answering the hopes of his ardent supporters ? Only time will tell.

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Statewise updates:

Delhi verdict updates | Madhya Pradesh verdict updates | Rajasthan verdict updates | Chhattisgarh verdict updates

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