Late on Saturday night, the Congress announced candidates for five out of the 11 parliamentary seats in Chhattisgarh. All these five seats are reserved seats — four for Scheduled Tribes and one for Scheduled Castes.
Three MLAs have been named candidates in the ST seats. For the Bastar constituency, the party has chosen two-term MLA Deepak Baij, MLA from Chitrakote.
In Bastar, the Congress government has returned to tribals land acquired for the Tata Project. The party hopes that Baij, a youth leader and an MLA from the constituency concerned, can gain from the government’s move.
The party has decided to field Laljeet Singh Rathiya in Raigarh. Also a two-term MLA, Rathiya won from Dharamjaigarh in the recently held polls. Senior leader Khelsai Singh will be the Congress’s candidate from Surguja. Known to enjoy the backing of senior minister and influential North Chhattisgarh leader TS Singhdeo, Singh has been both an MP and an MLA in the past, and is sitting legislator from Premnagar.
Viresh Thakur, a Gond tribal, has been fielded from the Kanker (ST) seat. The Congress has chosen Ravi Bhardwaj for reserved SC Janjgir Vhampa seat.