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Chhattisgarh Assembly Polls: Congress Releases List Of Candidates, Here Are Top Leaders

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel is standing for re-election from his traditional Patan constituency this time. The elections will be held in two phases on November 7 and 17.

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Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel
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The Congress party on Sunday released its first list of candidates for the forthcoming Chhattisgarh assembly elections, scheduled for next month. This list includes a mix of seasoned politicians and new faces among its selection of 30 candidates. The list involves the re-nomination of 22 incumbent MLAs, including the Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, his entire cabinet of 12 ministers, and the State Assembly Speaker Charandas Mahant.

Despite this, eight sitting legislators from the ruling party in Chhattisgarh have not been granted tickets. However, the State Unit Chief and Member of Parliament, Deepak Baij, is among those who have been given the opportunity to contest.

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The elections for the 90-member Chhattisgarh assembly are set to be conducted in two phases on November 7 and 17.

Of the 30 seats for which Congress has unveiled its candidates, 14 are reserved for Scheduled Tribes and three for Scheduled Castes. Among the remaining 13 general seats, candidates hailing from the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) are contesting for nine positions. Additionally, four women candidates, including a current minister and two sitting MLAs, are part of the lineup.

Bhupesh Baghel

CM Bhupesh Baghel is standing for re-election from his traditional Patan constituency this time.

He was appointed as the chief minister of Chhattisgarh in 2018. Hailing from Patan and serving as an MLA, Baghel held the position of state chief of the Congress party who brought the party back to power after 15 years.

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The Congress achieved a victory in Chhattisgarh, securing 68 out of 90 assembly seats, thereby dethroning the former BJP Chief Minister, Raman Singh. Born into a farmer's family in 1961, Baghel embarked on his political journey by becoming a member of the Indian Youth Congress in 1986.

TS Singh Deo 

Deputy CM TS Singh Deo is running from Ambikapur where he has secured victory thrice since 2008. In the fourth Vidhan Sabha of Chhattisgarh, he held the position of Leader of the Opposition.

According to reports, he is considered to be one of the richest MLAs for his royal background.

In 2018, Deo was also considered as a candidate for the chief minister's position along with Baghel. 

Deo assumed the role of a Cabinet minister in the Baghel ministry, overseeing five significant portfolios, which included health and family welfare, medical education, 20-point program implementation, commercial taxes, and panchayat and rural development.

Deepak Baij

State Unit Chief and Member of Parliament, Deepak Baij, has been fielded from Chitrakot seat, reserved for STs. 

Baij won the 2018 assembly election from Chitrakot, but he vacated the seat after winning the Lok Sabha poll in 2019. He belongs to the Bastar region, a tribal leader who commenced his political journey as a student and ascended to the position of NSUI district president in 2008. 

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Furthermore, he held a position as a member of the standing committee on external affairs until 2020, and subsequently, he assumed membership in the standing committee on chemical and fertilizers.

Charan Das Mahant 

Chhattisgarh Assembly Speaker Charan Das Mahant has been re-nominated for his Sakti constituency. 

For the Assembly polls, the 72-year-old Congress figure has been chosen as the head of the party's campaign panel for the second time in a row.

He has previously held ministerial roles in both state and central governments. In addition to his extensive legislative and administrative background, Mahant is recognized as an OBC leader and is reportedly regarded as a "neutral figure" who enjoys acceptance from different party factions within the state.

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All ministers up for reelection

The ministers who have been nominated include Tamradhwaj Sahu (Durg rural), Amarjeet Bhagat (Sitapur-ST), Umesh Patel (Kharsia), Jai Singh Agrawal (Korba), Shivkumar Dahariya (Arang-SC), Anila Bhendia (Dondi Lohara-ST), Ravindra Choubey (Saja), Mohammad Akbar (Kawardha), Kawasi Lakhma (Konta), and Mohan Lal Markam (Kondagaon).

Minister Guru Rudra Kumar, who contested in the 2018 elections from the Ahiwara seat (Durg district), will now compete in the Navagarh-SC constituency in the neighboring Bemetara district.

Notably, Gurudayal Singh Banjare, the incumbent Congress MLA from Navagarh, did not secure a spot in the list revealed on Sunday.

In the 2018 Chhattisgarh assembly elections, the Congress secured a substantial victory, winning 68 seats out of the 90-member House and forming the government comfortably. The BJP was reduced to 15 seats, while the Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (J) and the Bahujan Samaj Party secured five and two seats, respectively. The Congress currently holds 71 seats in the House and aims to win 75 this time.

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