Chhattisgarh Assembly Elections 2018 is a direct contest between incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress. Even as Mayawati and Ajit Jogi are leaving no stone unturned to emerge as a united third front in the state, Chhattisgarh is likely to bet on the tried and tested.
According to India TV-CNX survey, Chief Minister Raman Singh continues to be the favourite man for the job among people despite anti-incumbency of 15 years. People's favourite among Congress candidates include Bhupesh Baghel and TS Singh Deo. But the list of leaders to watch out for in Chhattisgarh polls in not lmited to probable CM candidates.
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Here is a look at key candidates in Chhattisgarh Assembly Elections 2018
Raman Singh, BJP
Raman Singh is a veteran BJP leader and serving Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh since 2003. He is seeking his fourth term as the top boss in the Naxal-affected state. An ENT ayurvedic doctor by profession, Raman Singh was born in Kawardha to Vighnaharan Singh Thakur, an advocate, and Sudha Singh. After completion of schooling, he graduated from Government Science College, Bemetara in 1972. He studied Ayurvedic Medicine at Government Ayurvedic College, Raipur.
Singh joined the Bharatiya Jan Sangh as a youth member and was the president of youth wing in Kawardha in 1976-77. He progressed to become a councillor of Kawardha municipality in 1983. He was elected to Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly consecutively in 1990 and 1993. In 1999 he was elected to the 13th Lok Sabha from the Rajnandgaon constituency in Chhattisgarh. He served as Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry from 1999 to 2003 during Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. Singh left the Union cabinet post to become CM of his home state.
Brijmohan Agrawal, BJP
Veteran BJP leader Brijmohan Agrawal started his political career at the age of 15 with ABVP. Rising through the party ranks from a youth worker to a senior leader, Agarwal became the cabinet minister in BJP's government in Chhattisgarh. Until 2013 he was minister of Public Works Department, School Education, Endowment, Culture, Legislative Affairs and Tourism Departments. Since the 2013 reshuffle he has been Minister of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Fish Rearing and Water Resources, religious trust and endowment.
Brijmohan Agrawal is widely considered as the second-most powerful man in Chhattisgarh after CM Raman Singh. He has a stronghold over the business-class vote back and has been a strong asset for his party since before state's bifurcation from Madhya Pradesh.
Bhupesh Baghel, Congress
Bhupesh Baghel (born 23 August 1961) is an Indian politician, from Chhattisgarh. He is a member of Indian National Congress and the current President of Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee since October, 2014. He is an elected member of Chhattisgarh Assembly. His assembly constituency is Patan (District Durg).
Four-time MLA from Chhattisgarh's Patan, Bhpuesh Baghel is a veteran Congress leader and the current president of party's state committee. Baghel joined Indian Youth Congress (IYC) in 1985 and was President, IYC Durg District (rural) from 1990 to 1994. He was Vice President of Madhya Pradesh Youth Congress (1994–95). Baghel served in Digvijay Singh's cabinet (Madhya Pradesh), first as incharge of Public Grievance Department and then later as Minister of Transport.
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When the state of Chhattisgarh was created by the Government of India in November 2000, Baghel became First Minister for Revenue, Public Health Engineering and relief work (until 2003). He was Deputy Leader of Opposition in Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly from 2003 to 2008.
TS Singh Deo, Congress
Current Leader of Opposition in Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly, TS Singh Deo is the titular Maharaja of Sarguja. Born on 31 October 1952, Deo is a senior Congress leader and was richest candidate during the 2013 assembly elections. TS Singh Deo represents Ambikapur, capital of his erstwhile princely state, in the state assembly.
Charan Das Mahant, Congress
Charan Das Mahant is a veteran Congress leader from Chhattisgarh. During the UPA government, Mahant held the portfolio of Union Agriculture Minister in Manmohan Singh cabinet. Frequently in news for his controversial statements, Mahant hails from Janjgir Champa region. He is seeking election to state assembly in forthcoming polls from Sakti.
Three-time MP, Mahant was first elected to Parliament in 1998. This time party has given him key responsibilities for Chhattisgarh Assembly polls 2018. Mahant was the only Congress Member of Parliament from Chhattisgarh during 15th Lok-Sabha term.
Karuna Shukla, Congress
Congress' bet against Chief Minister Raman Singh at his home turf, Karun Shukla is niece of late BJP leader and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. A former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP, Shukla will be contesting from Rajnandgaon the home constituency of the current CM. She represented Janjgir constituency in the 14th Lok Sabha and joined the Congress before the 2014 Lok Sabha election.
Polling for Chhattisgarh Assembly Elections was held in two phases. In Phase 1, 18 constituencies went to polls on November 12. Voting for rest of the 72 constituencies was held on November 20 and counting of votes will be held on December 11.