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Durg MP Tamradhwaj Sahu frontrunner to be Chhattisgarh CM

Gandhi had first appointed Sahu as chairman of the party’s other backward classes (OBC) department and later nominated him to Congress Working Committee, the party’s top decision-making body.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Dec 12, 2018, 07.15 AM IST
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Chhattisgarh Election Result: Punia thanks Rahul Gandhi for victory in state
Chhattisgarh Election Result: Punia thanks Rahul Gandhi for victory in state
NEW DELHI: Having wrested Chhattisgarh from BJP after 15 long years, Congress is now spoilt for choice for the chief minister’s post.

The frontrunner for the top job seems to be Tamradhwaj Sahu, MP from Durg. A noncontroversial leader, Sahu, 69, is considered close to Rahul Gandhi, represents the Sahu OBC community and was drafted to fight these elections in the past month.

He was leading by more than 27,000 votes at Durg (rural) constituency late Tuesday.

Gandhi had first appointed Sahu as chairman of the party’s other backward classes (OBC) department and later nominated him to Congress Working Committee, the party’s top decision-making body.

Sahu as chief minister would send the right signal to the Sahus, an OBC that constitute nearly 16% of the state population.

Others in the fray include leader of opposition and Ambikapur MLA TS Singh Deo, state Congress president Bhupesh Baghel and former Korba MP Charan Das Mahant.

The 66-year-old Deo has been at the forefront of a sharp fight against BJP in the assembly, while Mahant has been a reliable organisational hand who has steadily helped build the party.

Baghel has successfully resurrected the party and led several agitations against the Raman Singh government. While his proximity to senior Congress leaders at All India Congress Committee (AICC) could work in his favour, his name figuring in a sex CD case could hamper his chances.

The 2013 Assembly election was a missed chance for Congress as the party could not cash in on the sympathy after the Naxal attack on a convoy of Congress leaders, killing about 27 people including a number of senior party leaders.

Chhattisgarh-BCCL

There was only a 0.7% vote share difference between Congress and BJP in that election. This time, however, Congress has increased its voteshare to 43.2% against BJP’s 32.9%. Congress also improved its performance in Bastar.

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