Chhattisgarh Assembly Election: Big blow to Congress! Senior leader Ram Dayal Uike joins BJP (File Photo)
While Congress is seeking to oust the Raman Singh government in upcoming Chhattisgarh Assembly Elections 2018, senior leader Ram Dayal Uike Saturday joined the BJP, giving a big blow to the Rahul Gandhi-led party. BJP president Amit Shah, who is on a two-day visit to Chhattisgarh ahead of the high-pitched political battle on November 12, inducted Uike into the party. CM Raman Singh was also present during his induction which is dubbed as 'ghar vapasi' of the Adivasi leader by the BJP. Uike was a member of the Saffron party before he joined the Congress in 2000.
Talking about his political career, Uike was elected MLA of Pali Tanakhar in 2013 after he won with a margin of over 28,000 votes. He was appointed Congress Working President in January 2018. Ajit Jogi inducted him into the Congress after he left the BJP in 2000.
Mr Uike quitting the Congress came weeks after Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) chief Mayawati left the party in a lurch and forged an alliance with Ajit Jogi's Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (CJC) for the upcoming assembly polls in the state.
On a related note, Mayawati is in Chhattisgarh and scheduled to kick off the election campaign for the first phase of the polls on November 12. There are also reports that Shah is planning to meet Mayawati in Bilaspur, where she is campaigning for the BSP-CJC alliance.
In a bid to cover-up the set backs, Congress, on the other hand, has welcomed former Editor of Navbharat, Ruchir Garg, who is expected to fight the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections from Raipur.
Early on Friday, the Congress has finalised the list of 17 candidates for the first phase of polling in Chhattisgarh. The names of the candidates will be released in a day or two. However, the party is yet to finalise its candidate for Rajnandgaon, the constituency of CM Raman Singh.
As per the latest data, released by the Election Commission, there are total 1, 85, 45, 819 voters including 92, 95, 301 men, 92, 49, 459 women and 1,059 third-gender voters in the state. The state has 23,632 polling booths, out of which 19,240 are in rural and 4,392 in urban areas.
The BJP is in power in the state since 2003. In the 2013 Assembly polls, it bagged 49 seats while the Congress won 39. The remaining two were won by the BSP and an Independent respectively.