Early poll dates take Chhattisgarh politicians by surprise

October 14th, 2008 - 7:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyRaipur, Oct 14 (IANS) The assembly poll dates announced by the Election Commission in New Delhi Tuesday for Chhattisgarh and four other states has surprised politicians of the state’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) here and the opposition Congress.The Maoist-infested state goes to polls in two phases - Nov 14 and 20 - to elect a new 90 member state assembly.

In the present state assembly, the BJP has 52 members in the house, Congress has 34 while the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has one seat each while two seats are vacant.

Senior leaders of both the parties said they were expecting polls to take place either in last week of November or first week of December.

A senior state-level BJP leader said soon after the dates announcement that “the party is roaring to face polls as the government has performed exceptionally well since it took over power from Congress in Dec 2003″.

But the leader added “the state is now going to polls at least two weeks earlier than their expectations as even party has not cut short long list of ticket claimants’ panel on about 65 seats”.

Congress leaders too expressed surprise.

“I don’t want to react on Election Commission’s dates. As a political party we are always geared up to face polls but it’s surely at least two weeks early than out expectations and preparations as well,” said Ramesh Varlyani, state Congress spokesman.

The commission has set up 20,952 polling stations in Chhattisgarh where 15,207,734 voters will exercise their franchise. In the first phase, 39 segments will go to polls while 51 seats will see election in the second and the final phase.

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