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Chhattisgarh

The Congress 2018 success in Chhattisgarh was most glaring and pronounced. Here was a state where the grand old party did not have a strong regional satrap. Perceived acceptability, popularity of a chawal wale baba, armed with a series of welfare schemes under his belt and the fight against Naxal violence made Raman Singh a clear winner. But voters felt otherwise and punished him severely.

The Congress will get 68 seats on 11 Decembefr 2018, up 29 from the 2013 elections. BJP, on the other hand will end around the 16 mark, a massive drop of 33 from the last time. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh said that he was confident of coming back to power in the state. But it will not be a fourth consecutive term for BJP's Raman Singh. The chief minister resigned as BJP is destined for a defeat in the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections. With the Congress poised to wrest power from the BJP in Chhattisgarh after 15 years, the party's state unit chief Bhupesh Baghel has credited strong party organisation for the impressive showing and said he was "not expecting" such a big margin of victory.

Chief Minister Raman Singh addressed the Media: "For 15 straight years, people of Chhattisgarh gave me and the BJP a chance to serve them. We did our best, and made a difference to the lives of common man. This election was fought in my name so I take moral responsibility for the defeat. We will form a constructive role in the opposition. Even if I work all my life I will not be able to repay the love and support I have received from the people of Chhattisgarh. The party will sit together and find out what we could have done better. These elections were not elections for Delhi, those will be held in 2019. Why will this have an impact on the 2019 polls? We fought these elections on local issues. The 2019 fight will be about who is up against PM Modi."

Congress was set for a landslide win in the Chhattisgarh elections. Voting happened in two phases to elect a new government in the state. The Chhattisgarh Assembly, which has 90 members, has a current trend which suggests that the Congress will get 68 seats, up 29 from the 2013 elections. BJP, on the other hand will end around the 16 mark, a massive drop of 33 from the last time. The two phases of polling or voting in Chhattisgarh had happened on November 12 and November 20.

Chhattisgarh had an uninterrupted reign of chief minister Raman Singh for the past 15 years. In a politically volatile region, this is not a mean achievement, yet there are plenty reasons for people to get weary of a political constancy. And in the past 15 years, the violence in the region has been escalating without any signs of abatement. There is little doubt that Raman Singh came out with experiments like Salwa Judum to counter the Maoist influence and found himself at the receiving end of criticism by NGOs and liberal intelligentsia.

Chhattisgarhs Dandakaranya region largely comprises the bastions of radical left is different. Its beautiful hilly tracts of Vindhya region are not only filled with natures bounties but also contains rich spiritual heritage. However the abject poverty in which the aborigines (tribals) live is testimony of failure of civilisation.

Traditionally the area was considered to be the stronghold of the congress. Tribals alienation gradually began when they saw outrageous industrialisation in the region as detrimental to their interests. They lost forests and land as modernisation continues to take its toll on the region. The steel authority of India (SAIL) set up its plant and owned several mines of iron ores. Similarly, mining at large scale in the region not only disturbed the ecology but also pushed the aborigines on the margins.

The paradox of Dandakaranya triggered a deep social unrest which found readymade subversive political ideology- Maoism. In the adjacent Andhra Pradesh, this ideology had already found its base and expansion was a logically corollary. At the same time, the region also became a contesting place for religious radicalism. The Christian missionaries continued their proselytizing mission by tapping into the tribals gullibility. Of late the RSS mobilised its own unit- Vanvasi Kalyan Kendra- to neutralise the Christian influence and retain the tribals into a larger Hindutva fold.

Raman Singh had been winning election by a slender margin for the past three times. Apparently the BJP and the Congress were often equally poised in the assembly elections with the BJP having a slight edge. This is indeed a precarious political situation for the ruling party which faced accumulation of anti-incumbency.

Chhattisgarh is one of the youngest members of the Indian Union, born on 1st November 2000. The raison d'tre of Chhattisgarh was economic and social underdevelopment of this region in undivided Madhya Pradesh. The formation of the new State has thrown both challenges and opportunities for the development of the State. These challenges assume a new dimension in the backdrop of the fact that around 32 percent of the population of Chhattisgarh belongs to Scheduled Tribes and another 12 percent belongs to the Scheduled Castes. Undoubtedly, economic growth without social growth would further accentuate the regional, sectoral and communal disparities.

Dense forests, undulated topography, dispersed population and poor infrastructure characterizes the rural landscape of Chhattisgarh. Complex institutional, structural, geographical, and social-economic barriers play in rural areas leading to low levels of human development. Such a complex problem demands equally comprehensive solutions that pack gainful employment with improved infrastructure and quality services.Despite large number of programmes designed and launched to make a dent on rural poverty, rural-urban gap in incomes and other elements of human development persist and mainly stems from lack of effective implementation, oversight, and support infrastructure. Incomes from rural farm/non-farm sector are meagre with poor price realization due to high levels of intermediation and information asymmetry.

With all major minerals including diamonds in abundance, it is the richest state in mineral resources. There are mega industries in Steel, Aluminum and Cement. Chhattisgarh contributed substantially to the Human Resources of India.

One third of Chhattisgarh's population is of tribes, mostly in the thickly forested areas in the north and south. The Central Plains of Chhattisgarh is known as the "Rice Bowl" of Central India. Female literacy has doubled in the last decade, and male literacy is higher than India's average. Gender ratio is next only to Kerala.

Chhattisgarh has been grappling with the challenge of narrowing the ever-widening infrastructure gap between tribal areas and rest of the state. Significant resources have been invested since its formation on improved connectivity that becomes a vehicle for inclusive growth. For strengthening the administrative machinery in Fifth Schedule areas two Regional Tribal Development Authorities have been created for northern and southern tribal areas to beam efforts and resources on these areas.

Naxals have made it impossible to reach social welfare programs to those who need them most. The plight of the poorest and the most vulnerable, on whose behalf the Naxals claim to have taken up arms, has therefore become even worse. Naxals use villagers who are sympathisers as human shields when they are cornered. Other villagers have no option but to do what they are ordered to do by the Naxalites, but are then branded as supporters by the police and suffer the consequences. The plight of the poorest and the most vulnerable, on whose behalf the Naxals claim to have taken up arms, has therefore become even worse.



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