AFTER A nervous wait of 21 days in Chhattisgarh, political parties will learn their fate on Tuesday. All three major players in the state — a first in its 18-year-old political history which has largely remained bipolar — have expressed varying degrees of confidence. While both the BJP and Congress have said that they will form the government with clear majorities, the JCCJ-BSP-CPI coalition has indicated that it believes no government will be formed without its support.
On Monday, at a joint press conference, top Congress leaders including general secretary in-charge P L Punia, PCC chief Bhupesh Baghel and Leader of Opposition T S Singhdeo said they were confident of a victory over the 15-year BJP government. Senior Congress officials said arrangements have also been made for MLAs to be shifted quickly in case of a narrow win, to avoid any risk of poaching.
“We are sure we will win. This is just to cover all bases…” said a senior party leader.
The BJP said the Congress was not preparing for a victory, but for internal fighting that will break out after its defeat. Both three-term Chief Minister Raman Singh and state BJP president Dharamlal Kaushik said they were confident that the BJP would cross the halfway mark.
Privately, however, BJP leaders have admitted that this election has been particularly difficult, and the chances of a return hinge on the performance of the JCCJ-led coalition.
Meanwhile, leaders of the coalition, which is Chhattisgarh’s first serious third front, said they were sure that no government would be formed without it. With Ajit Jogi as their chief ministerial face, senior coalition leaders said as many as 20 seats, mainly in the Bilaspur-Janjgir region, were locked in a triangular fight for the first time, and they believed that many of these seats would come to them.
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