Raipur: There appears to be a vertical split in SC and ST voters in Chhattisgarh as far as handing over decisive mandate to Raman Singh government is concerned, with the former extending their support to the ruling party and the latter rallying behind Congress.
Unlike previous Assembly elections, Scheduled Caste voters drifted largely towards BJP this time despite the Raman Singh government pruning their reservation quota.
Contrary to speculations that SCs will support Congress, which is desperately seeking a comeback and thwarting of Raman Singh`s dream run for the third consecutive term, the BJP bagged 9 out of 10 SC seats, leaving just one for it rival.
In 2008, BJP had won five out of 10 SC seats and Congress four, while Pamgarh constituency was pocketed by Mayawati`s BSP.
The results stunned Congress as it had promised in its poll manifesto to restore the SC quota to 16% from the current 12 % under Raman Singh rule if voted to power.
Not only this but the community, which constitutes 12 per cent of the state`s population of 2.5 crore, also jettisoned its prominent leaders Haridas Bhardwaj and Shivkumar Dahariya.
Ten out of 90 assembly seats are reserved for SCs.
According to political observers, BJP`s development scheme and overall record of good governance helped it in weaning away SCs from Congress this time.
However, BJP suffered a setback from its tribal loyalists who switched their loyalty to Congress this time, helping it improving its tally in Bastar region which had catapulted BJP to power in last two terms.
Of the 12 seats in this naxal-infested region, Congress wrested eight seats from BJP. However, BJP managed to off-set the adverse impact by improving its tally in plains.
However, ST voters apparently rallied behind Congress.
Out of 29 seats reserved for STs that were up for grabs, Congress managed to improve its tally by 8 seats to 18 this time whereas BJP`s number fell to 11 from 19 seats it had won in 2008 elections.