Chhattisgarh Assembly election – State Profile

by
Hemant Abhishek

Introduction

Chhattisgarh consists of 27 districts which were carved out of Madhya Pradesh on November 1, 2000.

The tribal dominated state shares its borders with Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

The outline of Chhattisgarh is in the shape of a seahorse. It has hills in the north and southern parts of the state, while the central part is a fertile plain. The state is drained by Mahanadi and Rihand rivers, among others.

Chhattisgarh has an abundance of natural minerals and accounts for 15 per cent of steel produced in India.

As the seat of many tribes and tribal customs and practices, the state is also culturally very vibrant.

The state is blessed with an abundance of tourist spots of natural scenic beauty.

Politics

Chhattisgarh has a unicameral legislature. There are ninety seats in the state Assembly, of which ten are reserved for SCs and 34 for STs.

After opting for the Congress in the first elections held after its creation, Chhattisgarh's voters switched their allegiance to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and have since voted Dr Raman Singh to power twice. Whether he is lucky for the third time, or not, only time will tell.

Demography

As per the 2011 census, Chhattisgarh had a population of 2.28 crore people — of this 98.30 per cent are Hindus, 1 per cent Muslim and 0.7 per cent Christian.

Agriculture is the chief economic occupation of the state.

Chhattisgarh has a higher proportion of Scheduled Tribes and Schedule Castes. Tribals constitute about 34 per cent of the total population of the state.

The state boasts a healthy sex ratio too (991 females per 1000 males). The widespread belief among certain tribes that witchcraft exists has plagued the womenfolk to a certain extent. The state in 2005 did enact a law against witchery, but a lot is still left to be done to protect women in this regard.

History

Some say that the state derives its name from the combination of Chhatis (36) and Garh (Forts). Experts aver that the region was called Dakshin Kosala in ancient times.

During Mughal era, it was called Ratanpur territory and not Chhattisgarh. The word Chhattisgarh was popularized during the Maratha period and was first used in an official document in 1795.

The history of Chhattisgarh can be traced back to the fourth century AD. In the 10th century, the region was ruled by a powerful Rajput family who called themselves as Haihaya dynasty. This dynasty ruled Chhattisgarh till 14th century when it split into parts. The Chalukya Dynasty established its rule in Bastar in the middle ages.

In 1741, the Marathas attacked Chhattisgarh and destroyed the Haihayas.

Raghunathsinghji - the last surviving member of the Ratanpur house – was deposed by Marathas in 1745 AD. The whole region was annexed by Marathas in 1758, who appointed Bimbaji Bhonsle as the ruler. After Bimbaji Bhonsle, the Marathas adopted the Suba system.

Though Britishers controlled some part of Chhattisgarh by 1818, the whole region came under their direct control in 1854 when the province of Nagpur lapsed to the latter.

The state has witnessed several tribal rebellions during late 18th century to the first few decades of the 20 century. Most of these rebellions were aimed at asserting the right of the tribes on the local resources i.e. land and forests. These rebellions significantly influenced the then political environment. The Salwa Judum movement has also been dubbed as a movement of tribes against the Naxalites.

Culture

The tribal dominated Chhattisgarh state has its own unique cultural identity. It harbors many religious sects like Satnami Panth, Kabirpanth, Ramnami Samaj, etc.

Tribes like Gond, Uranv, Kanver, Kamar, Baiga, Halba, Korva, Pando, Birhi, Binjhwar, have their own individual identity and traditions.

People of this state have their distinctive style of dance, cuisine, and music. Among the popular folk dances include Pandwani (a musical narration of Mahabharata), Raut Nacha and the Panthi and Soowa.

Prominent festivals that are observed in this region include Navakhani, Ganga Dushhara, Sarhul Chherka, Dushara, Dipawali, Karma, Kartika and Hareli.

First Published: Saturday, November 09, 2013, 12:33


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Previous Poll Results

  • Chhattisgarh
  • (90/90) Seats
  • chhattisgarh
  • Party
  • BJP
  • Congress
  • BSP
  • Others
  • Seats
  • 49
  • 38
  • 2
  • 1

Poll Schedule

  • Chhattisgarh
  • 90 Seats
  • Polling
  •  
  • Counting
  • Nov 11 (Phase 1)
  • Nov 19 (Phase 2)
  • Dec 8

Manifestos

aCongress
aBJP
aOthers
Is BJP`s good showing in Assembly elections indicative of Narendra Modi wave in country?