Congress candidate Devti Karma on Friday won Dantewada Assembly bypoll in Chhattisgarh by defeating Bharatiya Janata Party’s Ojaswi Mandavi by a margin of 11, 331 votes. Dantewada, one of the worst Maoist-affected districts in the country, was earlier held by Bhima Mandavi.
The bypoll was necessitated after the BJP lawmaker Bhima Mandavi was killed in a Maoist attack in April. While the BJP has fielded Ojaswi Mandavi, the wife of Bhima Mandavi, the Congress candidate is Devti Karma, whose husband Mahendra Karma was killed in the Jhiram Valley Naxal attack in 2013.
Both had contested against each other last year too. The voting for the bypoll, reserved for Scheduled Tribes, was held on September 23. The voter turnout in the bypoll was 60.59 per cent.
Dantewada was the only seat in the Bastar division which the BJP managed to win in the 2018 assembly elections, which brought the Congress to power after 15 years.
In the 2018 polls, Devti Karma lost to Bhima Mandavi by a thin margin of 2,172 votes from Dantewada. In the 90-member Assembly, the Congress won 68 seats last year and the BJP 15.
The Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J), founded by Ajit Jogi, and the Mayawati-led BSP bagged five and two seats, respectively.