Going solo cost Cong 9 seats
Syed Junaid Hashmi
JAMMU, Dec 12: Grand Alliance in Chhattisgarh would have decimated Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) completely, left it with 3 seats and given the alliance a thumping majority of 87 seats in the 90 member legislative assembly.
Congress, which won 68 seats, would have secured 77 seats in the 90 member legislative assembly, leaving BJP with just 3 seats, something which would have come as rude shock for a party which dominated the political scene of Chhattisgarh for 15 long years. Congress lost 9 seats with narrow margin or by a margin, which the party would have overcome, had it allied either BSP or the JCC (J) or Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP) or even CPI.
In a state where BJP ruled for 15 years, it won 15 seats but it would have lost 12 of these, had Congress allied with BSP or managed to get Ajit Jogi back in the party. The results should worry BJP since Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP National President Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath led the campaign. The three seats where BJP managed a clear-cut victory are Raipur City South, Rajnandgaon and Vaishali Nagar.
In Raipur City, BJP’s Brijmohan Aggarwal defeated Kanhaiya Aggarwal of Congress by a margin of 17,496 votes. Ex-Chief Minister Dr. Raman Singh defeated his nearest rival Karuna Shukla of Congress by a margin of 16,933 votes. This is despite the fact that Dr. Raman Singh led the state for three successive terms and is known as Mr. Clean. The third clear victory for BJP was in Vaishali Nagar where its candidate Vidhya Ratan Bhasin defeated Badruddin Qureshi by 18,440 votes.
Congress would have won 9 more seats if it had allied with what it prefers calling like-minded parties which includes BSP, JCC (J), GGP and CPI. In Akaltara, Richa Jogi of BSP got 58648 votes and she would have defeated Saurabh Singh of BJP who polled 60502 votes, if the party had been in alliance with Congress. The Congress candidate Chunni Lal polled 27667 votes, thus leading to the defeat of the BSP candidate. BJP won by a margin of 1854 votes.
Beltara went to BJP due to Ajit Jogi’s Congress whose candidate Anil Tah secured 38302 votes and came third with Congress candidate Rajendra Sahu polling 43342 votes and winning candidate from BJP Rajnish Singh getting 49601 votes. Similarly, Congress lost Bhatapara due to JCC (J), Bilha due to JCC (J), Bindranawagarh due to Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP), Dantewara due to CPI and BSP, Dhamtari due to Independent, Janjgir-champa due to BSP and Mungeli due to JCC (J).
Similarly, Congress assured defeat of Independent Neelam Chandrakar in Kurud assembly segment where he was contesting against a sitting minister Ajay Chandrakar. Neelam was in Congress and contested as an independent after being denied party ticket. In Masturi, Congress polled 53, 620 votes and BSP candidate got 53843 votes while the wining BJP candidate polled 67950 votes.
In Mungeli, BJP won but had JCC (J) and Congress been in an alliance, they would have together polled 84,239 votes. BJP candidate polled 60469 votes and won the seat. Phool Singh Rathiya of Ajit Jogi Congress who got 46873 votes would have won the Rampur seat had the party been in alliance with Congress, whose candidate got 44261 votes. Therefore, the story is far worse for BJP then what it has appeared on the surface in Chhattisgarh.
It has lost the plot in Chhattisgarh. Moreover, if the arithmetic explained above is any indicator, BJP must start introspection into the causes of the defeat and stop depending heavily on divisive leaders in the party. Congress should also understand that Grand Alliance is the only way out if it wishes to bounce back in the year 2019.
Congress preferred going solo in Chhattisgarh after talks over seat distribution failed. Of the 90 assembly seats, BSP had proposed Congress to let them contest on 35 seats which the latter refused.
BSP leader Mayawati then went for a tie-up with ex-Congress veteran Ajit Jogi’s Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) and contested on 35 seats, of which BSP won two and Ajit Jogi’s JCC (J) won five.
Despite Mayawati and Ajit Jogi preferring to stay away from both Congress and BJP, Congress won brute majority in Chhattisgarh. However, the victory would have been grander, had Congress taken BSP, JCC (J), Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP) and CPI along. However, it preferred going solo in the state where its entire leadership was wiped out by Maoists and won 68 seats.