Assembly elections results: Raman smiling as Chhattisgarh finally shows true colours
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For most of Sunday, Chhattisgarh was the Congress party's last bastion of hope. But by evening the gloom from across the border in Madhya Pradesh has crossed borders and gripped Congress leaders in this tribal state too. It wasn't a rout by any means, but BJP seemed to be in a position strong enough to bring it to power, though with a much depleted margin.
At 7 pm, the ruling party was ahead in 47 seats compared to Congress' 42. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh had defeated Congress' Alka Mudaliyar in Rajnandgaon constituency by 35,866 votes, even though some BJP heavyweights like Woman and child development minister Lata Usendi has been defeated. She lost to Mohan Madkam in Kondagaon seat of Bastar, a region where Congress seemed to have done well.
With the picture becoming clearer and increasingly in his favour, Singh thanked the people of Chhattisgarh for BJP's imminent hat-trick in the Assembly elections, and said they had once again shown faith in the development works of his government. "It is a historic day and I express my gratitude to the people of the state for showing faith in the development done by the BJP," Singh told reporters here. "People have voted us to power for the third time and it is a victory of the people the state," he said.
On BJP's loss in eight seats in Naxal hotbed Bastar, he said the party will examine the causes for setback in this tribal region. While a win will definitely boost his spirits, the smaller margins this time will definitely make this a hard win to digest. The chief minister is not a conventional politician, and rides solely on the strength of his claims of development. But the quiet, laid back and non-interfering style comes bundled with the absence of a mass following, and makes Singh vulnerable to opponents seeking to replace him in a coup.