The electorate in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh may have hesitated to give Congress a clear mandate, but in Chhattisgarh they have not shown such ambivalence. Congress won 68 of the 90 Assembly seats, leaving the BJP just 15, and the new alliance Janta Congress Chhattisgarh-Bahujan Samaj Party (JCC-BSP) a meager seven. It is this feeling that the Chhattisgarh Congress hopes to exploit so as not to overthrow the dominant performance of BJP 11-1 in 2014.

Chief Minister Bhoopesh Baghel wasted no time in implementing the manifesto’s promises. The government claims to have waived loans from 2 million farmers worth Rs 11,000 crore at one time. He also increased the purchase prices of paddy from Rs 2,050 to Rs 2,500 per quintal; all state residents will also receive 35 kg of rice per family free of charge. To appeal to the middle class, the electricity price has been halved for consumption of up to 400 units per month. To fight against youth unemployment, the recruitment of 15,000 teachers has been announced. Having done extremely well in the tribal headquarters, Congress returns the favor by increasing the salaries paid to leaf pickers from Rs 2,500 per standard bag to Rs 4,000. We inform the electorate of the endless list of broken promises. by Prime Minister Modi and the [gap in] delivery between our government and the 15-year BJP government, says CM Baghel.

When selecting candidates, Congress bet on five sitting deputies in the constituencies of Surguja, Raigarh, Mahasamund, Rajnandgaon and Bastar. From a caste perspective, in the six general seats of the LS, the party presented two candidates from the electorally influential Sahu community.

The BJP game plan

The Saffron Party, stung by the electoral defeat of the state, is trying something new. State Secretary General Dr Anil Jain has announced that none of the 10 incumbent BJP deputies will be deployed again. These include Abhishek Singh, MP for Rajnandgaon and son of former CM Raman Singh, Union Minister Vishnu Deo Sai of Raigarh and eight times MP for Raipur and former Union Minister Ramesh Bais. It’s about building a new line of leadership in the state. As a result, tickets went to newbies or leaders who had fallen out of the way but were recently rehabilitated. In addition, following the success of the Congress in 10 constituencies of the Assembly where it presented Brahmins, the BJP also presents Brahmins in two of the six general seats. He also hopes that the popularity of the Prime Minister will give him the urban seats of Raipur, Bilaspur and Korba. Likewise, Congress hopes that Rahul Gandhi’s minimum income guarantee will increase his chances.

And what about Ajit Jogi’s JCC, the x ‘factor in the congregation poll? After winning five seats with a 7.6 percent vote share, he didn’t do too badly for a party for the first time. However, with Congress winning an absolute majority, it left JCC deputies other than the Jogi couple vulnerable to congressional poaching. Former MK Siyaram Kaushik, who contested on a JCC ticket, returned to Congress in March. The JCC’s alliance with BSP (which won 2 seats with a 3.9% share of the vote) has ended, with both parties declaring that their votes have not transferred in the assembly ballot. Congress’ response to the JCC appears to be to ignore it.