Contests in the following 13 seats would attract most attention during the Chhattisgarh assembly elections as they feature prominent leaders of the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel currently represents this rural constituency in Durg district. It borders the capital Raipur. Baghel has been elected five times from this seat since 1993. In 2008, he lost to the BJP’s Vijay Baghel, his distant nephew.
The BJP has once again fielded Vijay Baghel, currently Lok Sabha MP from Durg, from this seat. The Baghels belong to the Kurmi caste, an influential OBC community which has a sizable population in this constituency.
This urban seat in Rajnandgaon district is currently held by BJP vice-president and three-time chief minister Raman Singh. In the 2018 assembly polls, Congress had fielded Karuna Shukla who had quit the BJP and joined the grand old party. She lost to Singh by 16,933 votes.
Singh, a six-term MLA, has won this seat thrice since 2008. Notably, in a setback to Singh, the BJP has not projected any leader as its CM face this time.
This tribal-dominated seat in north Chhattisgarh is currently held by deputy chief minister T S Singh Deo. A scion of an erstwhile royal family, Singh Deo, a three-time MLA, won this seat for the first time in 2008.
The constituency has been witnessing protests by local villagers, mainly tribals, against coal mines allotted to the Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited (RRVUNL) in biodiversity-rich Hasdeo-Arand region. Singh Deo came out in support of the protestors.
The state assembly then passed a private member’s resolution urging the Centre to cancel all coal blocks in the Hasdeo area. The protests may affect the Congress’s prospects in this seat.
4. Konta (ST)
This Scheduled Tribes-reserved seat falls in the Naxal-affected Sukma district in south Chhattisgarh.
It is currently held by Industry and Excise Minister Kawasi Lakhma, one of most influential tribal leaders in the state. It has mostly seen a triangular contest between the Congress, BJP and Communist Party of India.
Lakhma has won from Konta five times in a row since 1998.
5. Kondagaon (ST)
This seat, which falls in Kondagaon district in south Chhattisgarh, is currently held by former state Congress chief Mohan Markam.
He defeated the BJP’s prominent tribal woman leader and former minister Lata Usendi from here in 2013 and 2018. Usendi was recently elevated as the BJP’s vice president.
Markam, who was reportedly not on good terms with CM Baghel, was replaced as state Congress chief in July and appointed as a minister.
6. Raipur City South
An urban constituency held by the BJP’s influential leader and former minister Brijmohan Agrawal.
A seven-term legislator, Agrawal has been unbeaten in this seat since 1990. But Congress’s Kanhaiya Agrawal, a low-profile leader, put up a tough fight in 2018, securing 60,093 votes against Brijmohan who got 77,589 votes.
7. Durg Rural
This rural seat in Durg district has a sizable population of Sahus, a prominent OBC community. It is currently held by minister Tamradhwaj Sahu, a prominent OBC leader who is believed to have played a crucial role in mobilizing Sahu voters in favour of Congress in 2018.
Sahu was among front runners for the post of CM after the party won power in 2018.
He had won from Durg Lok Sabha seat in 2014 before being fielded from this seat in the subsequent assembly elections.
Speaker of the Chhattisgarh assembly Charandas Mahant, another prominent OBC leader of the Congress, represents this seat.
A four-time MLA, Mahant was elected from this seat for the first time in 2018. He is also a three-term Lok Sabha MP and was a Union minister of state in the UPA-II government.
This seat in Kabirdham district is currently held by minister Mohammad Akbar, a prominent Muslim leader.
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.
Akbar, however, may face some difficulty this time as Kawardha town witnessed communal violence in 2021 which may result in polarization on communal lines.
This adjoining constituency in Bemetara district is currently held by state agriculture minister Ravindra Choubey, an influential Brahmin leader. He is a seven-term MLA.
This constituency also witnessed communal tensions earlier this year after the murder of a man belonging to the Sahu community, leading to retaliatory killings. The polarization may affect the results in Saja as well as Kawardha.
11. Arang (SC)
This semi-urban constituency in Raipur district is currently held by Urban Administration Minister Shiv Kumar Dahariya, an influential Satnami sect leader.
The majority of Scheduled Caste population in the state follows this sect.
Dahariya was first elected to Chhattisgarh assembly in 2003 from Palari, and then from Bilaigarh seat in 2008.
This time he faces threat as Satnami sect guru Baldas Saheb and his supporters recently joined the BJP, quitting Congress. Baldas has sought a ticket for his son Khushwant Das Saheb from Arang.
This seat falls in Raigarh district of north Chhattisgarh, dominated by the OBC community Aghariya.
Higher education minister Umesh Patel currently represents this seat which has been a Congress bastion. Patel was elected for the first time from this seat in 2013 following the death of his father and prominent Congress leader Nandkumar Patel in the Jhiram valley Naxal attack.
Nandkumar Patel had been elected from Kharsia five times.
This constituency, largely inhabited by OBC population, has a tradition of changing MLA in every election.
Senior BJP leader Narayan Chandel, a Kurmi, represents this seat.
He had been elected thrice from the seat (1998, 2008 and 2018), defeating Congress’s Motilal Dewangan. Dewangan had defeated him in 2003 and 2013.
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