With Congress dominating Chhattisgarh and looking well on its way to ending the BJP's 15-year rule, speculation abounds about the party's likely chief ministerial candidate. Members were already celebrating in Raipur as trends showed the grand old party surging ahead. While the Congress fielded Karuna Shukla, niece of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, against Chief Minister Raman Singh, the latter took a lead of 1,375 votes after the first round of counting. Months prior to the elections, Congress leader TS Singh Deo said that the party would choose the chief minister's face just like Sita had chose Lord Rama through "swayamvar" after the Assembly elections.
Here is a list of the probable Congress chief ministerial candidates:
President of the Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) since 2014, Baghel is one of the front-runners. Baghel is a four-time MLA from Patan constituency and has served as minister in the Digvijaya Singh government when the state was a part of Madhya Pradesh.
He was also a member of the Ajit Jogi cabinet. With the creation of Chhattisgarh in 2000, Baghel became the first Minister for Revenue, Public Health Engineering and relief work. His name was, however, mired in controversy years later due to his involvement in the 'sex CD' case of BJP leader Rajesh Munat.
The Congress fielded OBC leader Tamardhwaj Sahu from the Durg (rural) constituency on the last day of filing nominations for the second phase of Assembly polls by dropping Pratima Chandrakar, a move seen as a step to woo voters from the backward class. The 69-year-old leader is the only Congress MP from the state. Sahu is also chairman of the Congress’s OBC cell. More than 16 percent of its total population in the state account for the backward classes. Sahu is also seen as a close confidant of Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
TS Singh Deo
The sitting MLA from Ambikapur constituency, Deo is another strong contender for the chief minister's post.
He was one of the richest candidates in the poll fray during the 2013 Assembly elections and is the Leader of Opposition in the Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly. Scion of the Sarguja royal family, Deo is considered the suave face of the party. He has, however, been accused of going soft on Raman.
Charan Das Mahant
Another important OBC leader of the party, Mahant was also a minister in the Digvijay Singh cabinet from 1993 to 1998. He was also a minister of state in the Manmohan Singh government and had worked briefly as the president of the Chhattisgarh PCC president.
Considered the Brahmin face of the party, Satyanarayan Sharma is a former minister in the state and served in the cabinets of both Digvijay Singh and Ajit Jogi. But for a state with a large backward class population, Sharma's Brahmin lineage could possibly work against his candidature.
Your guide to the latest cricket World Cup stories, analysis, reports, opinions, live updates and scores on https://www.firstpost.com/firstcricket/series/icc-cricket-world-cup-2019.html. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates throughout the ongoing event in England and Wales.
Updated Date: Dec 11, 2018 14:59:19 IST