As a landslide victory for Congress, a blow to the arm for CM Bhupesh Baghel
Months after collapsing in a power struggle with Health Minister TS Singh Deo over the alleged 2.5-year power-sharing formula, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has received major encouragement while the ruling party swept away the results of the civic body polls for which were announced a few days ago.
The result strengthened the Congress party and the chief minister, but it left the opposition BJP with plenty to ponder with deep soul-searching ahead of the mega-clash of 2013 when the state is due to go to the election. legislative, say political observers.
It was no less than a shock to the BJP opposition as the ruling Congress won the six panchayats of Nagar, four of the five city councils and two of the four city corporations out of the 15 civic bodies that surrendered to the ballot box on December 20. Even in two municipal corporations, Congress is only slightly removed from the majority and it may well entice independents into power, sources said.
To add, the BJP had won a consolation victory in Jamul city council, while in Khariagarh both parties won 10 seats each.
Congress ministers Ravindra Chaubey, Anila Bhedia and Tamrdhwaj Sahu who handled electoral duties breathed a sigh of relief with the heartwarming victory of the parties. Meanwhile, the results, many argue, could force the BJP high command to rethink its overall strategy.
Going into the polls, CM Baghel had said that the party went to the public with the works and achievements and that the results somehow approved his reign. Mohan Markam, the head of the CGCC after the victory, said the public seems satisfied with the work and initiatives of the Baghel government over the past three years. The party managed to put on an impressive spectacle of Bastar in Sarguja and also in the plains, said Markam.
We have captured both the hearts and the minds of the public, said Markam welcoming the landslide victory.
CM Baghel, busy helping the party put on an impressive show in UP, welcomed the ballot to the charges, workers and candidates. At less than a seat or two, the BJP couldn’t even get close to the Congress party, he added, saying this was despite their state in charge of personally overseeing civic polls.
However, the BJP seemed eager to go into introspection mode. Opposition leader Dharamlal Kaushik has said the party modestly accepts the mandate and will look into the reasons for the defeats. Yet he accused the Baghel government of abusing the machinery of government and rigging the electoral rolls.
To add, the opposition is also annoyed by the lack of an anti-nomination factor despite the ruling party having spent three years in power.
Places like Durg, Bhulai and Beergaon showed the growing influence of the ruling party in urban areas while in rural segments like Bastar and rural pockets, the mandate showed the impact of godhan nyay yojana. In places like the Premnagar Nagar panchayat, Congress won the post of president after a hiatus of about 40 years.
A senior political observer from Raipur said Congress is doing smartly in the rural and semi-urban areas that are the party’s traditional support base. Measures such as buying cow dung, cutting electricity bills in half, canceling women’s self-help group loans and land ownership appear to have done the trick, he added. .
Recent results have once again confirmed that the Congress party, which came to power with a large majority winning 68 of 90 seats in Assembly polls in 2018, appears to be continuing its momentum.
Three side elections organized after 2018 were all in favor of the ruling party.
Also in 2019, the Congress Party had won victories in seven out of ten municipalities, while the BJP, which had remained unchallenged in power for 15 years, won only one municipality.
CM Baghel, who has already made political appointments to keep the herd happy, also hinted at a cabinet reshuffle on Monday, saying he will think about it if the party high command so wishes.
However, the large BJP delegation in recent polls certainly left the party with so much to think about, a seasoned journalist from Raipur said.
However, the Congress party, drawing inspiration from the political setback it suffered in Madhya Pradesh last year, is playing it safe. As the results were announced on Thursday, the party packed the victorious contractors onto buses and sent them to undisclosed locations. Sources claimed that around 300 legal entities were being held in fortified hotels and resorts where no one was allowed to contact them.
Some would be taken on trips to Goa and Puri so that parties like the BJP and Janta Congress Chhattisgarh could not contact them and all the winning candidates would be available to vote for mayor positions. Several independents joined the Congress party after the results were announced.
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