Raipur: Putting behind its debacle in the assembly elections held just six months ago, the BJP staged a remarkable comeback in Chhattisgarh in the Lok Sabha polls, winning nine of the 11 seats at stake.
The ruling Congress, that ended the 15-year-long rule of the BJP in Chhattisgarh late last year, suffered a rude jolt as it managed to win just two Lok Sabha seats.
The BJP won Raipur, Durg, Rajnandgaon, Bilaspur, Surguja (ST), Raigarh (ST), Janjgir-Champa (SC), Kanker (ST) and Mahasamund constituencies, while the Congress grabbed two - Bastar and Korba.
In the last three general elections since 2004, the BJP had won 10 of the 11 seats in the Naxal-affected state.
State BJP vice-president Sunil Soni defeated Congress candidate and Raipur Mayor Pramod Dubey in the high-profile Raipur seat by a whopping margin of 3,48,238 votes.
A major upset is witnessed in Durg where the BJP's Vijay Baghel won by a whopping margin of 3,91,978 votes against Congress's Pratima Chandrakar.
In 2014, the Congress had won only the Durg seat in the state.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and his two Cabinet colleagues hail from Durg and had campaigned extensively there, but that did not help the Congress.
In another prestigious seat Rajnandgaon, BJPs Santosh Pandey registered victory against Congresss Bholaram Sahu by a healthy margin of 1,11,966 votes.
In Janjgir-Champa, BJPs Guharam Ajgalley defeated Congress candidate Ravi Bhardwaj by 83,255 votes, whereas BJPs Arun Sao trounced Congresss Atal Shrivastav by a margin of 1,41,763 votes.
In a close contest in Kanker, BJPs Mohan Mandavi won the seat by defeating Congresss Biresh Thakur by a thin margin of 6,914 votes.
In Mahasamund, BJPs Chunnilal Sahu won against Congresss Dhanendra Sahu, a senior leader and incumbent MLA, by a good margin of 90,511 votes.
Three women candidates - two from the BJP and one of the Congress, have emerged victorious in the state.
Former state minister Renuka Singh of the BJP defeated her Congress rival Khel Sai Singh in Surguja 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 by humbling Congress's Laljeet Singh Rathiya, a sitting MLA, by 66,027 votes.
Congresss Jyotsna Mahant, the wife of assembly speaker Charandas Mahant, defeated BJPs Jyotinand Dubey by 26,349 votes.
In the Naxal-affected Bastarseat, Congress youth leader and sitting MLA Dipak Baij defeated BJP's Baiduram Kashyap by 38,982 votes.
The BJP has also consolidated its position in the state in terms of vote share.
The saffron party had got 32.97 per cent of the total votes in the 2018 assembly polls which increased to 50.70 per cent in the Lok Sabha elections.
In the 2014 lok sabha polls, the BJP had got 49.7 per cent of the total votes.
The Congress' voter share, which was 43.04 per cent in assembly polls, declined to 40.91 per cent in the Lok Sabha elections.
In 2014, the Congress had secured 39.1 per cent of the votes polled.
After the Congress had put up a stellar show in the last years assembly polls, political experts expected the party to fare better in the Lok Sabha polls.
The Congress had won 68 of the 90 Assembly seats in the 2018 state polls.
The Congress was also anticipating to repeat its assembly poll performance on the back of the Bhupesh Baghel government fulfilling certain promises, particularly those related to farmers, including Rs 2,500 minimum support price for each quintal of paddy and loan waiver.
The Congress campaign was largely focused on its promise of minimum income guarantee scheme for the poor, but that failed to dent the prospects of the BJP which canvassed on the issue of nationalism and popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
To check anti-incumbency, the BJP denied tickets to all its 10 sitting MPs, including seven-time parliamentarian Ramesh Bais, Union minister Vishnudeo Sai and son of former Chief Minister Raman Singh, Abhishek Singh, a move which benefited the party.