The BJP on Saturday announced 78 of the 90 candidates for the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections, changing 14 of its sitting MLAs. The first phase of election is on November 12, covering Bastar and Rajnandgaon — Union minister and senior leader J P Nadda announced candidates for all 18 seats going to the polls in first phase. The last day for filing of nomination for first phase is October 23.
Wary of anti-incumbency, BJP changed 14 MLAs, including one minister, Ram Sheela Sahu. The WCD Minister contested in 2013 from Durg Rural Seat, which has now been given to Jageshwar Sahu. The other 12 of the 13 member cabinet have remained unchanged, with Chief Minister Raman Singh to fight from Rajnandgaon, of which he is the sitting MLA.
One BJP MP, Vikram Usendi, has been given ticket from Antagarh. In 2013, Usendi had won the elections from Antagarh, but vacated his seat to fight the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Kanker. The bypoll turned out to be very controversial, with purported tapes emerging that suggested a tie-up between the Jogis and the ruling BJP. In the end Manutram Pawar, the Congress candidate, joined the BJP, with MLA Bhojraj Nag elected to the seat. It was this controversy that set the ball rolling for Jogi to exit the Congress and form CJC. With internal surveys not rating Nag’s performance highly, Usendi has been asked to return to his seat.
Former Raipur collector and IAS officer OP Choudhary will will fight from Kharsia seat.
The BJP also announced 38 names for Telangana elections and 13 names, all Christians, for Mizoram.