Chhattisgarh and Mizoram voting: The democratic process is in full swing as the states of Chhattisgarh and Mizoram head to the polls to choose their next government, setting the stage for a high-stakes battle between the Congress and BJP. Chhattisgarh, in particular, is entering its first phase of voting, with the second phase scheduled for ten days later.
Here are the top 10 points in this significant electoral event:
- Security Concerns: A soldier from the CRPF CoBRA Battalion, deployed for election duty, was injured in a blast triggered by Maoists in the Tondamarka area of Chhattisgarh's Sukma today, highlighting the security challenges in the region.
- Chhattisgarh's Electoral Landscape: In Chhattisgarh, 20 out of the total 90 seats are up for voting in this phase. Notably, 12 of these seats are located in the Maoist-affected Bastar region, prompting strict security measures. Approximately 60,000 security personnel have been deployed to ensure the safety of the electoral process. In the previous 2018 elections, the Congress emerged victorious in 17 of these seats, while the BJP secured two.
- Prominent Candidates: Key contenders in Chhattisgarh include former Chief Minister Raman Singh from the BJP, along with Bhawna Bohra, Lata Usendi, and Gautam Uike. From the Congress, notable candidates include Mohammad Akbar, Savitri Manoj Mandavi, former state unit chief Mohan Markam, Vikram Mandavi, and Kawasi Lakhma.
- Congress' Strategy: The ruling Congress party is banking on Bhupesh Baghel, credited with rejuvenating the state unit after the devastating Maoist attack in 2013, which wiped out the party's leadership. The BJP, following its traditional approach, has not projected a specific candidate for the top position and has emphasized Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership.
- Congress' Hopes: The Congress believes that its best chance of securing a victory in the two states it governs lies in Chhattisgarh. The state government claims significant achievements in various sectors, including agriculture, education, and counterinsurgency efforts against Maoists.
- Corruption Allegations: The Congress campaign faced a setback when corruption allegations surfaced against Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. These allegations are related to an illegal online betting app called Mahadev, with claims of substantial payments to Baghel and ongoing financial transactions. Baghel has responded by accusing the BJP of using the Enforcement Directorate as a political weapon, asserting that these allegations won't affect his party's electoral prospects.
- Mizoram's Political Landscape: In Mizoram, the Mizo National Front, which came to power in 2018 in alliance with the BJP, ending the 10-year rule of Congress's iconic chief minister Lal Thanhawla, seeks to retain power. Traditionally, the ruling party in Mizoram is given two terms before being voted out.
- Multi-Cornered Contest: This election in Mizoram is expected to be multi-cornered, with the emerging regional party Zoram People's Movement (ZPM) presenting a young candidate for the state's top position. Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party has also joined the electoral race.
- 2018 Election Results: In the 2018 elections, the Mizo National Front secured 26 out of the 40 assembly seats with a vote share of 37.8%. The Congress managed to secure five seats, while the BJP won one seat.
- Counting of Votes: The votes from both Chhattisgarh and Mizoram will be counted on December 3, along with the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Telangana, making it a critical day in Indian politics as the results will shape the political landscape ahead of the 2024 elections.
- With inputs from agencies