RAIPUR: Like in other Hindi heartland states, BJP maintained its superlative performance in Chhattisgarh too as the party grabbed 9 out of 11 seats in the state. The Congress, which had defeated BJP in Assembly election in December last year, bagged just two seats. In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the BJP had won 10 seats and the Congress one. Interestingly, the Congress had 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 comprehensive win registered by Congress in last year's Assembly election had raised hope that the party would pose a stiff challenge to the BJP in Lok Sabha election too but it turned out to be only wishful thinking.
State BJP vice president Sunil Soni defeated his Congress opponent and Raipur Mayor Pramod Dubey from Raipur seat by a margin of 3,48,238 votes. In Durg seat, Vijay Baghel of BJP beat Congress' Pratima Chandrakar by 3,91,978 votes. In Rajnandgaon, Santosh Pandey of BJP defeated Bholaram Sahu of Congress by 1,11,966 votes. In Raigarh (ST) seat, Gomtee Sai of BJP was leading over Laljeet Singh Rathiya of Congress by 66,027 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. 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. In Naxal-affected Bastar (ST) seat, Congress youth leader and sitting MLA Dipak Baij defeated BJP's Baiduram Kashyap by 38,982 votes.
BJP's stunning victory in the state after facing serious losses in Assembly election can be attributed to the fact that the saffron party took tough decisions before the Lok Sabha election. The BJP denied ticket to all sitting MPs including the son of former Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Kumar. This was not a risky move as it could have alienated many senior leaders but PM Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah took the tough call and there risk has paid off. The BJP also succeeded in turning the tide against it by centring its campaign around PM Modi and the issue of nationalism.