19 Oct 2023

Chhattisgarh Elections-2023: Congress Keeps 25 Incumbent MLAs in Second List, Introduces 22 Fresh Faces

Raipur: The second list of 53 candidates released by the ruling Congress for the upcoming Chhattisgarh assembly elections 2023 reflects an attempt to strike a balance between incumbent and fresh faces. 

Party  had faced defeat on 17 of these 53 seats in the 2018 elections. Of the 53 seats, 14 are reserved for Scheduled Tribes and six for Scheduled Castes categories. Of the remaining 33 seats, the Congress has fielded 17 OBC candidates.

As of now, the Congress has declared candidates for 83 out of the 90 available seats.

Tickets of 10 sitting MLAs cut

In this announcement, the party has chosen to re-nominate 25 sitting MLAs while opting not to extend tickets to 10 current legislators, including a former minister. To inject new energy into the electoral landscape, the Congress has introduced 22 new candidates.

The Chhattisgarh elections are scheduled to take place in two phases on November 7 and 17, with 14 of the 53 seats reserved for Scheduled Tribes and six for Scheduled Castes.

The candidate list also showcases the party's commitment to gender equality, with ten women candidates, including three sitting MLAs and a former Rajya Sabha member, being included.

Several senior MLAs, such as Dhanendra Sahu, Khelsai Singh, and Rampukar Singh, have been fielded from their traditional constituencies, including Abhanpur, Premnagar, and Pathalgaon (ST). Notably, former Rajya Sabha MP Chhaya Verma is set to contest from Dharsiwa, while Anita Yogendra Sharma has been denied a ticket for Dahrsinwa.

These MLAs re-nominated 

Among the re-nominated MLAs are Gulab Singh Kamro (Bharatpur Sonhat), Paras Nath Rajwade (Bhatgaon), Pritam Ram (Lundra-ST), Vinay Kumar Bhagat (Jashpur-ST), U D Minj (Kunkuri-ST), Prakash Shakrajeet Naik (Raigarh), Uttari Jangde (Sarangarh-SC), Laljeet Singh Rathiya (Dharamjaigarh-ST), Purshottam Kanwar (Katghora), Dr KK Dhruv (Marwahi-ST), Rashmi Ashish Singh (Takhatpur), Shailesh Pandey (Bilaspur), Ram Kumar Yadav (Chandrapur), Devender Bahadur Singh (Basna), Dwarikadhish Yadav (Khallari), Vikas Upadhyay (Raipur West), Amitesh Shukla (Rajim), Sangeeta Sinha (Sanjari Balod), Kunwar Singh Nishad (Gunderdehi), Arun Vora (Durg city), Devendra Yadav (Bhilai Nagar), and Ashish Kumar Chhabra (Bemetara).

ED has named Devendra Yadav as an accused

It's important to highlight that the Enforcement Directorate has named Devendra Yadav, who has been fielded from Bhilai Nagar, as an accused in a money laundering case related to the alleged coal levy scam in the state. A court in Raipur has issued a notice to Yadav, requiring him to appear on October 25 in this case.

These sitting MLAs replaced

The candidates who have replaced sitting MLAs include Ramesh Singh (Manendragarh seat), Rajkumari Marawi (Pratappur-ST), Dr. Ajay Tirkey (Ramanujganj-ST), Vijay Paikara (Samri), Vidyavati Sidar (Lailunga-ST), Duleshwari Sidar (Pali-Tanakhar - ST), Kavita Pran Lahare (Bilaigarh-SC), Jitin Jasiwal (Jagdalpur), and Pankaj Sharma (Raipur Rural).

Notably, Pankaj Sharma is the son of the incumbent Raipur Rural MLA and senior party leader Satyanarayan Sharma.

The Congress has also opted not to field senior MLA Premsai Sing Tekam from the Pratappur seat, who had previously served as the school education minister in the Bhupesh Baghel cabinet before being replaced by Mohan Markam in July this year.

New faces

Among the fresh faces, Shailesh Nitin Trivedi, the chairman of the Chhattisgarh State Textbook Corporation, will be contesting from Baloda Bazar. Additionally, Nirmal Kosare, a newcomer, will represent the Ahiwara (SC) seat, which is currently held by Minister Guru Rudra Kumar. Kumar, in turn, will be contesting from Navagarh this time. His name was already featured in the first list of candidates released earlier.

The Congress has denied tickets to a total of 18 sitting MLAs up to this point. On the other side, the main opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, has announced candidates for 86 seats thus far.

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