RAIPUR: The BJP maintained its superlative performance in Chattisgarh too as the party grabbed 9 out of 11 seats in the state. The Congress was able to win just two seats. In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the BJP had bagged 10 seats and the Congress one. Interestingly, the Congress has never won more than one seat in Chhattisgarh in the three Lok Sabha elections since the formation of state from Madhya Pradesh in 2002.
The Congress had registered a comprehensive win in assembly elections late last year by defeating BJP and it was expected that the party would pose a stiff challenge to the BJP in Lok Sabha election too.
In the trends available so far, State BJP vice president Sunil Soni was leading over his Congress opponent and Raipur Mayor Pramod Dubey from Raipur seat by 3,40,432 votes. In Durg seat, Vijay Baghel of BJP is ahead of Congress' Pratima Chandrakar by 3,88,386 votes. In Rajnandgaon, Santosh Pandey of BJP is leading over Bholaram Sahu of Congress by 1,11,432 votes. In Raigarh (ST) seat, Gomtee Sai of BJP was leading over Laljeet Singh Rathiya of Congress by 66, 249 votes.
Former state minister Renuka Singh of the BJP defeated her Congress rival Khel Sai Singh in Surguja (ST) seat by a huge margin of 1,57,873 votes. Another woman candidate of the BJP Gomtee Sai, president of Jashpur district panchayat, won from Raigarh (ST) seat against Congress' Laljeet Singh Rathiya, a sitting MLA, by 66,027 votes.
In high-profile Raipur, state BJP vice president Sunil Soni defeated Congress candidate and Raipur Mayor Pramod Dubey by a whopping margin of 3,48,238 votes. A major upset is likely in Durg Lok Sabha constituency where the BJP's Vijay Baghel is leading by 3,91,978 votes over Congress' Pratima Chandrakar.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and his two cabinet colleagues hail from the Durg Lok Sabha area. In 2014, Congress had won only the Durg seat in the state. Bilaspur, Rajnandgaon, Mahasamund, Kanker (ST) and Janjgir-Champa (SC) are other constituencies where BJP was leading.
In Naxal-affected Bastar (ST) seat, Congress youth leader and sitting MLA Dipak Baij has defeated BJP's Baiduram Kashyap by 38,982 votes. In the last three general elections since 2004, the BJP had won 10 of the 11 seats in the state.