Chhattisgarh Election Results: After initial scare, Raman Singh leads in Rajnandgaon over Congress' Karuna Shukla by 147 votes
Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh was elected twice from Rajnandgaon, in 2008 and 2013 by a comfortable margin. He had won the Lok Sabha polls from this constituency in 1999.
The contest from Chhattisgarh's Rajnandgaon constituency has turned into a prestige battle for the Bharatiya Janata Party's Raman Singh, who has been in power as chief minister for three successive terms. After early trends showed Singh trailing in the Rajnandgaon seat — considered his bastion — Singh took a lead over Congress' Karuna Shukla, niece of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, by a margin of 1,375 votes after first round of counting.
Shukla was earlier a member of the BJP as an MLA from Balodabazaar and a MP from the Janjgir Champa constituency. She resigned from the saffron party in 2014.
Although this was the Chhattisgarh chief minister contesting from Rajnandgaon constituency, the Congress has not named its chief ministerial candidate for the state.
Chhattisgarh is the only state where voting was held in two phases — the first in 18 seats saw a voter turnout of 76.35 percent and the second in 72 constituencies saw 71.93 percent polling. The state is fighting a three-front battle between the ruling BJP, Congress and the BSP-JCC-CPI alliance led by former chief minister Ajit Jogi and Mayawati.
Singh has been looking for a historic fourth term based on his "good governance" model. He was elected twice from Rajnandgaon — once in 2008 and then again in 2013 — by a comfortable margin. He had won the Lok Sabha polls from this constituency in 1999 and was also a Union minister in Vajpayee's Cabinet.
Apart from the Congress fielding Shukla against Singh, the party had earlier raised corruption charges against the incumbent chief minister. It had also claimed that the chief minister's son Abhishek Singh's name had featured in the Panama Papers case.
With inputs from agencies and 101Reporters
It is not unlikely that a few more Congress defectors find place in the party's second list of 11 candidates, to be announced soon
Khanna is a businessman and two-term former MLA who had not been much active politically after quitting the Congress some years ago
Rawat, who holds the forest, environment, labour and employment portfolios in the Uttarakhand cabinet, had left Congress to join BJP in 2016