11 Oct 2023

Chhattisgarh Assembly Elections-2023: Will BJP Play Hindutva Card; How Cong Will Counter?

Raipur: Chhattisgarh assembly elections-2023: Both Congress and BJP are in election mode in Chhattisgarh. BJP has announced its candidates on 85 out of 90 assembly seats. Looking at this list, it seems that even in Chhattisgarh, BJP is not going to leave Hindutva issues. The party playing the Hindutva card is indicated by many names included in the list.

A BJP leader accused in a rioting case and a villager whose son was killed in a communal clash have been given tickets by the saffron party for the Chhattisgarh assembly polls scheduled next month.

Communalism may feature in state poll campaign

While the opposition BJP in Chhattisgarh has justified its decision to field these two candidates, political observers said communalism may feature in the state poll campaign this time.

For example, the party has made Ishwar Sahu its candidate from Saja seat. Ishwar is the father of 22-year-old Bhuvaneshwar Sahu, who was murdered on 8 April 2023 in Biranpur village of Bemetara district. Later this matter turned into a religious controversy. Religious violence also occurred. Ishwar Sahu is a non-political person, yet BJP has fielded him in the election field.

Ishwar Sahu’s son Bhuneshwar Sahu was killed in the violence which erupted in Biranpur, located 100 km from state capital Raipur, in Saja assembly constituency (Bemetara district) on April 8 after an altercation between some school children from two communities.
On April 11, a man, Rahim Mohammad (55), and his son Idul Mohammad (35), residents of Biranpur, were found murdered a few kilometers away from the village. The district administration then imposed section 144 of the CrPC for nearly 20 days in the village.

The Chhattisgarh government later announced to give a government job and financial assistance of Rs 10 lakh to the kin of Sahu, but the family did not accept the money. According to district officials, Ishwar Sahu had said he will think over the government job after his younger son attains the age of 18 years.

However, Sahu accepted a cheque of Rs 11 lakh handed over to him by the BJP. Chhattisgarh BJP chief Arun Sao, former chief minister Raman Singh and other senior party leaders had visited Sahu's house.

Political observers say the BJP is playing the Hindutva card in the entire state by relying on Ishwar Sahu. Indications of this are also seen from the statements of State President Arun Sao. Sao says that the entire state saw what happened in Biranpur. Ishwar's family did not get justice. Those who fought for their rights were put in jail. Now the people of the state will oust the Bhupesh Baghel government from power, according to Arun Sao.

BJP has also fielded rioting case accused Vijay Sharma

Besides, the BJP has also fielded Vijay Sharma, a rioting case accused who is a member of Kabirdham Zila panchayat and general secretary of the state party unit, from Kawardha seat (Kabirdham district).

On October 3, 2021, a clash broke out between people belonging to two communities over removal of religious flags from a thoroughfare in Kawardha town. Two days later, right wing outfits took out a rally in the town in protest against the incident during which violence took place.


BJP MP Santosh Pandey, former parliamentarian Abhishek Singh and Vijay Sharma were among those named in the FIR registered on charges of rioting, abetting the riot and others provisions in connection with the violence. Sharma was arrested and later released on bail.

The Kawardha seat is currently represented by Mohammad Akbar, a prominent Muslim leader from the Congress and state forest minister. A four-time MLA, Akbar contested from this seat for the first time in 2018 and won by a big margin of 59,284 votes against BJP’s Ashok Sahu, a former MLA, despite the seat having a sizeable population of Sahus.

Prabal Pratap Singh also given ticket

Not only this, Prabal Pratap Singh, who took over the political legacy of Dilip Singh Judeo, who was the biggest face of the homecoming campaign in India, has been made the candidate from Kota and the daughter-in-law of the same family, Sanyogita Singh Judeo, has been made the candidate from Chandrapur seat.

How Cong will counter BJP’s Hindutva card

On the other hand, Congress has also made full preparations to answer BJP's Hindutva card in Chhattisgarh. In the last five years, the Congress government of the state has promoted Ram Van Gaman Path, beautification of Kaushalya Mata Temple, Krishna Kunj and Ram Mandals.

However, Congress has its own arguments regarding BJP making the father of the deceased in the Biranpur dispute a candidate. Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel himself gave a statement on this.

Bhupesh Baghel said that communalism can never become an issue in Chhattisgarh. It may be his own opinion as to whom BJP gives tickets to and to whom not, but it is also true that they had other workers in Saja, but they chose a non-political person. Why did they give the ticket, this is their lookout.

Obviously all parties have their own strategies in elections. But in the next 45 days it will be decided how effective the Hindutva card will be in Chhattisgarh and if it is effective, then in whose favor it will be?

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