9 Mar 2024

Lok Sabha Elections-2024: Former Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel Returns to LS polls as Congress Nominee from BJP Stronghold

In a significant political move, the Congress party has announced the candidacy of former Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections-2024. Baghel, absent from the parliamentary race for nearly a decade, is set to contest from Rajnandgaon, a traditionally strong bastion of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Notably, Baghel faced defeat in the 2009 parliamentary elections in Raipur.

Santosh Pandey, the incumbent BJP candidate re-fielded from Rajnandgaon since 2014, poses a formidable challenge in the constituency.

Baghel represents Patan constituency in State Assembly

Baghel, 62, served as Chhattisgarh's third Chief Minister from 2018 to 2023 and has been actively involved in state politics, previously holding the position of Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress president from 2014 to 2019. Currently representing the Patan constituency in the Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly, Baghel's return to the Lok Sabha electoral fray adds an interesting dynamic to the political landscape.

The Congress party's first candidate list includes five other nominees from Chhattisgarh: Shivkumar Dahariya (Jangir-Champa), Jyotsana Mahant (Korba), Rajendra Sahu (Durg), Vikas Upadhay (Raipur), and Tamradhwaj Sahu (Mahasamund).

While the Congress list, featuring 39 names, includes the prominent figure of Rahul Gandhi, it appears comparatively limited in scope when contrasted with the BJP's extensive list of 195 candidates, which notably includes Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 34 central and state ministers. 

The Congress has unveiled its nominees for Lok Sabha seats in various states, including Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim, Telangana, and Tripura.

However, the Congress first list notably omits states with the highest number of Lok Sabha seats, such as Uttar Pradesh (80), Maharashtra (48), West Bengal (42), and Bihar (40).

Rahul Gandhi, currently leading the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Gujarat, will seek re-election from the Wayanad seat in Kerala. There are speculations about him potentially contesting from Amethi, and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra may vie for the Raebareli seat, previously held by Sonia Gandhi. The local Congress units have expressed their desire for both scions of the Gandhi family to contest from these strongholds.

The Congress party's second Election Committee meeting is scheduled for March 11 in Delhi to discuss further candidates for the impending Lok Sabha polls, anticipated to take place in April-May this year.

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