Chhattisgarh assembly election results: Three-time chief minister Raman Singh’s dream run ends
Raman Singh became chief minister on December 7, 15 years ago, and no other BJP CM has served for so long.
Early leads in Chhattisgarh on Tuesday predict trouble for the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) longest-serving chief minister, Raman Singh. The numbers suggest a return of the Congress in a state it lost to the doctor-turned-politician in 2003.
At 12 noon, the Congress was ahead in 55 seats and the BJP in 18 for the 90-member assembly.
Singh became chief minister on December 7, 15 years ago, and no other BJP CM has served for so long. Narendra Modi had an uninterrupted 4,610 days as Gujarat chief minister before becoming Prime Minister in May 2014. Singh, who completed 5,000 days in August, is the only BJP CM after Modi to have won three assembly elections in a row.
Right from the start of the 2018 campaign, he seemed to be in a tight spot in the fourth election that the BJP fought under him.
Singh, who earned the sobriquet ‘chaur wale baba’ (rice saint) for distributing cheaper rice to a large section of the poor, was struggling to get over the fatigue of anti-incumbency that had set against him and his legislators. He also faced allegations of nepotism and corruption under his government, but remained a popular leader himself.
Anger among farmers over falling farm prices and a shift of other backward classes (OBC) votes towards the Congress, too, seems to help the challengers in this election.
Singh, 66, was born in a peasant family of Kawardha district on October 15, 1952. His degree in Ayurveda medicine came by chance. He cleared the pre-medical test, but was denied admission in MBBS because he was too young then. Singh then studied Ayurveda at the government college in Raipur and got his BAMS degree at the age of 23.
Singh earned the admiration of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the BJP leadership while he spent the next couple of years treating villagers in his native town.
He made a political debut in 1990, getting elected to the Madhya Pradesh assembly. He was re-elected in 1993, and successfully contested the parliamentary elections from Rajnandgaon in 1999.
He was a minister of state in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, named Chhattisgarh BJP chief in 2003, and eventually led the party to victory later that year.