Congress Races Ahead In Chhattisgarh, BJP Trails

 
Congress Races Ahead In Chhattisgarh, BJP Trails

RAIPUR: The ruling BJP lagged behind the Congress as votes were counted in Chhattisgarh on Tuesday. Three-term Chief Minister Raman Singh of the BJP was briefly trailing in his constituency, but is now leading. As the Congress widened the gap with the BJP in Chhattisgarh, Raman Singh was locked in a tough fight in Rajnandgaon seat, where his rival is Congress's Karuna Shukla, the niece of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Raman Singh is the longest-serving chief minister of the BJP, three years more than Prime Minister Narendra Modi's tenure as Gujarat chief minister and two years more than Shivraj Singh Chouhan's years in power in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh.

In 2013, Raman Singh won from the same seat by a margin of 36,000 votes.

The alliance of Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and former chief minister Ajit Jogi's Janata appeared to make little impact on the Congress's votes.

Mayawati's move to tie-up with Ajit Jogi -- a Congress rebel -- was widely predicted to hurt the Congress more than the BJP.

Several exit polls had predicted a neck-and-neck fight between the big two and some projected victory for the Rahul Gandhi-led party.

The BJP is seeking a fourth straight term in office; the Congress is aiming to return after 15 years out of power in the largely tribal state.


In the 2013 elections, the BJP won 49 seats, the Congress 39, while one seat each was bagged by the BSP and an Independent.