Raipur: Amid tight security arrangements, the counting of votes for Chhattisgarh assembly elections that were held in two phases, began on Sunday at 8 am.
Ahead of the counting of votes for the legislative assemblies of four states--Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana, former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister and BJP leader, Raman Singh said on Sunday that the Bharatiya Janata Party will form the government in the state with a clear majority.
The results of assembly polls in four states is being considered as the semifinal before the Lok Sabha polls which is scheduled for 2024.
The halfway mark for the 90-member assembly of Chhattisgarh is 46.
Speaking to ANI, the senior BJP leader said, "The BJP will form a government with a clear majority in the state.
We will have 42-55 seats in the state." The fate of 1181 candidates will be revealed as the counting proceeds.
As per the Election Commission of India, 90 returning officers, 416 assistant returning officers, 4596 enumerators, and 1699 micro-observers have been appointed for the counting process. The ECI has also appointed 90 counting observers for the 90 assembly constituencies.
Three-tier security arrangements have been implemented at the counting centres, with entry at each level permitted only after thorough identity verification. The district police force has been deployed at the first and outer levels of the counting centres.
The state armed forces have been deployed at the second level. Before entry, every person will be thoroughly searched based on their identity card to ensure no one carries a mobile phone or other prohibited items.
Central Police Force (CAPF) personnel are stationed at the door of the counting hall in the third level. At this level, too, everyone will be searched to prevent the entry of mobile phones or other prohibited items. The polling in the state was held in two phases.
The first phase was held in 20 constituencies on November 7 with 223 candidates in the contest while the polling in the remaining constituencies with 958 candidates were held in the second phase on November 17. A total of 1,181 candidates contested seeking a mandate to the 90-member assembly.
The voter turnout for both phases combined was 76.31 per cent, slightly lower than the 2018 polls. In the first phase, 78 per cent of voter turnout was recorded and in the second phase, it was 75.88 per cent.
The four main contenders in the Chhattisgarh Elections 2023 are the BJP, Congress, Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (JCC) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). Other regional outfits like the Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP), Hamar Raj Party (HRP) and the Left parties are also in the contest. In Chhattisgarh, three exit polls predicted a clear victory for Congress, others said that the party was in the winning range.
The Congress fought the election with Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel at the helm. According to ABP C-Voter predictions, Congress is poised to win 41-53 seats in the state which has a 90-member assembly.
The exit poll said BJP is poised to get 36-48 seats and others 0-4 seats. The India Today-Axis My India poll predicted Congress getting 40-50 seats, BJP 36-46 seats and others getting 1-5 seats.
The Republic TV exit poll gave Congress 44-52 seats, BJP 34-42 seats and 0-2 polls for others. India TV-CNX poll predicted 46- 56 seats for Congress, 30-40 seats for BJP and 3-5 for others.
The numbers for Congress and BJP in the Jan Ki Baat exit poll were 42-53 and 34-45 respectively and it predicted 0-3 seats for others. Hours after the exit poll projections gave Congress an edge over the BJP in Chhattisgarh, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said his party was on course to secure a 'huge majority'.
He added that while most pollsters are predicting the Congress tally at 57, the number will swell to 75 by the time the results are declared.
Speaking to reporters after 5-7 exit poll projections put Congress in the lead, Baghel said the numbers quoted in these polls will stabilise in the next couple of days.
"Regardless of the exit-poll projections, we are confident of forming the government in Chhattisgarh with a handsome majority," Baghel told reporters.
However, dismissing the exit poll projections, which put Congress in the lead in Chhattisgarh, state party chief and BJP leader Arun Sao said that the small sample size of exit polls does not reflect the exact situation adding that BJP is set to form government in the state.
Speaking to ANI, Chhattisgarh BJP President Arun Sao said, "These exit polls have a limited size. The sample size of the BJP is huge. Party workers have given us the data.
I have been roaming in Chhattisgarh for the past 1.5 years. I have gone to each Vidhan Sabha and had conversations with people. On that basis, I can say that the BJP will come to power."