Chhattisgarh Assembly polls: All preparations complete for Sunday’s counting, says CEO

02:30 PM Dec 02, 2023 | Team Udayavani |

Counting of votes of the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections, which most pollsters have predicted will be a tough fight between the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP, will be held on Sunday.


Polls were held in two phases on November 7 and 17 for the 90-member Assembly. Voter turnout stood at 76.31 per cent, which was slightly lower than the 76.88 per cent recorded in the 2018 Assembly polls.

Tight security arrangements have been made in all counting centres in the state’s 33 districts, including the ones affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE), officials said.

“Counting for 90 seats would start at 8 am in 33 district headquarters for which all preparations have been completed. A three-layer security mechanism is in place at each counting centre,” Chhattisgarh Chief Electoral Officer Reena Baba Saheb Kangale said at a press conference.

“The counting of postal ballots will begin at 8 am. Half an hour after the postal ballots are counted, the process of counting votes from the EVMs will begin. A total of 90 returning officers, 416 assistant returning officers, 4596 counting personnel and 1698 micro-observers have been appointed for carrying out the counting process smoothly,” she informed.


In every counting hall, there will be 14 tables arranged in rows of seven, except for Pandaria, Kawardha, Sarangarh, Bilaigarh, Kasdol and Bharatpur-Sonhat Assembly seats where 21 tables will be arranged, she said.

While Kawardha and Kasdol constituencies will see 20 rounds of counting, the lowest, at 12, will be held in Manendragarh and Bhilai Nagar constituencies, the CEO said.

A total of 1,181 candidates are in the fray, including Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, Deputy Chief Minister TS Singh Deo (both from Congress) and former CM Raman Singh of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Patan seat, represented by Baghel, is witnessing a triangular contest with BJP fielding the chief minister’s distant nephew and Lok Sabha MP Vijay Baghel.

Amit Jogi, Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) state president and son of former CM late Ajit Jogi, is also in the fray from Patan.

In Ambikapur constituency, the BJP has fielded a fresh face, Rajesh Agrawal, against Deputy CM TS Singh Deo. Agrawal had joined the BJP after quitting the Congress ahead of Assembly polls in 2018.

Nine ministers, including Tamrdhwaj Sahu (Durg Rural constituency), Ravindra Choubey (Saja) and Kawasi Lakhma (Konta), state Assembly Speaker Charan Das Mahant (Sakti) and state unit chief and MP Deepak Baij (Chitrakot), are among the other prominent Congress candidates.

From the BJP, apart from Raman Singh, the other prominent candidates are state unit chief and MP Arun Sao (Lormi constituency), opposition leader Narayan Chandel (Janjgir-Champa), Union minister Renuka Singh (Bharatpur-Sonhat), MP Gomti Sai (Pathalgaon), former ministers Brijmohan Agrawal (Raipur South), Ajay Chandrakar (Kurud) and Punnulal Mohile (Mungeli).

Two former IAS officers OP Chaudhary (Raigarh) and Neelkanth Tekam (Keshkal) are also contesting on BJP tickets.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party has fielded 53 candidates, including its Chhattisgarh unit president Komal Hupendi from Bhanupratappur seat.

The Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Gondwana Ganatantra Party (GPP) formed an alliance to fight the polls.

While the main fight is between the Congress and BJP, a three-way contest played out in several seats of the Bilaspur division where former CM Ajit Jogi’s party and the BSP have pockets of influence. The AAP is also trying to gain a toehold in this division.

Exit polls telecast on several news channels on November 30 have predicted a close contest between the Congress and the BJP, with the ruling party having a slight edge.

Of the 90 Assembly seats in the state, 51 fall in the general category, 10 are reserved for Scheduled Castes and 29 for Scheduled Tribes.

In the 2018 polls, the Congress swept the polls winning 68 seats, leaving the BJP, which had ruled since 2003, a distant second with 15 seats.


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