Bastar is ours, say both BJP and Congress

Chhattisgarh`s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and opposition Congress on Tuesday claimed they would win the Bastar Lok Sabha by-election held on May 8.

Updated: May 10, 2011, 14:05 PM IST

Raipur: Chhattisgarh`s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and opposition Congress on Tuesday claimed they would win the Bastar Lok Sabha by-election held on May 8.

The counting of votes in the reserved constituency will be held on Friday.

According to the BJP, the party would win the seat by "not less than 50,000 votes" despite the low turnout.

About 40 percent polling was recorded in Maoist insurgency-ridden Bastar amid sporadic firing and blasts by Maoists in which a special police officer was killed and another security official sustained bullet injury.

The Congress, which has been losing the seat since 1998 to the BJP, was equally confident and said it would break the jinx by a "slender margin despite mass poll rigging by the BJP and government officials".

Congress state unit general secretary Ramesh Varlyani said: "The party has been informed of massive poll rigging by officials and BJP activists, mainly in forest areas where voters did not turn up because of Maoists fear. However, we are confident of victory."

The by-election for Bastar seat followed the death of BJP`s tribal leader Baliram Kashyap in March.

Out of the 11 Lok Sabha seats in Chhattisgarh, the BJP had won 10 in 2009 polls leaving the Congress with just one.

The BJP has fielded Baliram`s son Dinesh Kashyap. The Congress nominee is Kawasi Lakhma, state legislator from Konta, one of the eight assembly segments that make up Bastar parliamentary constituency.

IANS