Campaigning ends for Chhattisgarh LS polls: Corruption, Constitution, Naxalism top issues - Hindustan Times

Campaigning ends for Chhattisgarh LS polls: Corruption, Constitution, Naxalism top issues

May 05, 2024 06:06 PM IST

Campaigning ends for Chhattisgarh LS polls: Corruption, Constitution, Naxalism top issues

Raipur, The high-decibel campaign for seven Chhattisgarh Lok Sabha seats that will go to polls on May 7 ended on Sunday, with the ruling BJP and the Congress crossing swords over corruption, change in Constitution, snatching of quotas and Naxalism. The campaign for the seven constituencies ended at 6 pm, and now parties can undertake door-to-door drives before polling on Tuesday, an official said. The BJP's campaign was led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the party's president JP Nadda and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also addressed rallies. For the Congress, party president Mallikarjun Kharge as well as senior leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra led the campaign. PM Modi addressed two rallies as part of the campaign for the third phase of polling, and lambasted the Congress for planning to snatch quotas of Dalits, tribals and OBCs for allotment to Muslims. He attacked the Congress' manifesto over inheritance tax, asked voters to keep in mind that the party declined the invite to the idol consecration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya and also accused it of being soft on Naxalism in the state. Other BJP leaders exhorted voters to give Modi a third term on the basis of development works carried out and welfare schemes introduced since 2014. Congress leaders Kharge, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who addressed one rally each, accused the BJP of being "pro rich" and claimed the ruling party would change the Constitution and end quotas after retaining power. They also targeted the ruling party over electoral bonds. In their speeches, Congress leaders spoke of caste census, the need for greater participation of Dalits, tribals and backward classes in various sectors of the country, farm loan waiver and financial aid of 1 lakh annually to poor women under the Mahalakshmi yojana. Elections to 11 Lok Sabha seats in the state were scheduled in three phases. Naxal affected Bastar voted on April 19, Rajanandgaon, Kanker and Mahasamund on April 26 and the remaining seven, namely Raipur, Durg, Bilaspur, Janjgir-Champa , Korba, Surguja and Raigarh , will vote on May 7. There are 168 candidates in the seven seats on which voting will be held on May 7. There are 1,39,01,285 voters, comprising 69,33,121 men, 69,67,544 women and 620 members of the third gender, as per EC data. The number of voters in the 18-19 age group stands at 3,98,416, the poll official said. "As many as 15,701 polling booths have been set up in the seven constituencies. The time of polling in all seven seats is from 7 am to 6 pm. Raipur leads with 38 contestants, followed by 37 in Bilaspur, 27 in Korba, 25 in Durg, 18 in Janjgir-Champa, 13 in Raigarh, and 10 in Surguja," he said. A total of 202 companies of security personnel have been deployed for the third phase, the official added. The high-profile Raipur seat will see a contest between BJP's influential state minister Brijmohan Agrawal and former Congress MLA Vikas Upadhyay. In Korba, the BJP has fielded its influential woman leader and former MP Saroj Pandey against Congress' sitting MP Jyotsana Mahant, wife of leader of opposition in the Assembly Charandas Mahant. In Durg, the Congress chose a fresh face, Rajendra Sahu, against sitting BJP MP Vijay Baghel. In Bilaspur, Congress has fielded incumbent MLA Devendra Yadav against BJP's Tokhan Sahu, a former MLA. In the lone SC reserved seat Janjgir-Champa, former state minister Shivkumar Dahariya is Congress' nominee. He is up against BJP's woman leader Kamlesh Jangde. Surguja seat will see a contest between BJP's Chintamani Maharaj, who defected from the Congress before the 2023 assembly polls, and Congress' Shashi Singh. The tribal-dominated Raigarh seat will see a contest between BJP's Radheshyam Rathiya and Congress' Dr Menka Devi Singh, who belongs to the erstwhile royal family of Sarangarh. In the three Lok Sabha polls in 2004, 2009 and 2014, the BJP won 10 out of 11 seats. In 2019, the BJP emerged victorious on nine seats and the Congress on two.

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