178 in fray for Chhattisgarh’s 11 Lok Sabha seats

April 3rd, 2009 - 2:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Raipur, April 3 (IANS) There are 178 candidates contesting for Chhattisgarh’s 11 Lok Sabha seats, election officials said Friday, a day after the last date of withdrawal of nomination papers.
Raipur will see the most number of candidates - 32. The state’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has won the seat in the last five elections.

The least number of candidates - seven - are being fielded from the Maoist insurgency-hit Bastar constituency, where the BJP is eager to pull off victory for the fourth time in a row.

Though the main contest in the state will be between the two major national parties - the BJP and the Congress - the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has fielded candidates on all 11 seats.

All eyes are on the Bilaspur and Korba seats where senior leaders of the Congress and the BJP are being fielded.

The BJP has fielded its flamboyant leader and former union minister Dilip Singh Judeo from Bilaspur to take on Renu Jogi, wife of Congress leader and the state’s first chief minister Ajit Jogi.

In Korba, BJP national vice president Karuna Shukla, also the niece of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, will fight old rival Charandas Mahant of the Congress.

The BJP had won 10 seats in the 2004 polls, leaving Congress with only the Mahasamund seat that this time will see a battle between two Other Backward Classes (OBC) leaders - Motilal Sahu of the Congress and Chandulal Sahu of the BJP.

The state has a total electorate of 15.4 million, including 7.6 million women voters. About 50 percent of the voters are from OBC categories.

The delimitation exercise has increased from five to six the number of general (unreserved) seats in the state, which goes to the polls on April 16. Seats reserved for the Scheduled Caste have been reduced to one from two. The state also has four seats reserved for Scheduled Tribe candidates.

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