The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has strengthened its stranglehold over Chhattisgarh and pushed the Congress out of the power game. The party is on an upswing and will win 61-71 seats in the 90-member Assembly, pushing the Congress to a distant second with only 16-24 seats, according to the pre-poll survey conducted by Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) for CNN-IBN and The Week.
The survey shows that the Congress is a big loser as the party had won 38 seats in the 2008 elections, while the BJP's score was 49. The Bahujan Samaj Party may get 0-2 seats while smaller parties are likely to have a tally of 1-5 seats.
Propelled by a 6 percentage point increase in its vote share, the BJP is all set to decimate the Congress, which is facing the prospects of a 7 percentage point drop in its share. In the 2008 Assembly elections the BJP got 40.3 per cent of the votes but in October 2013 the party has the support of 46 per cent, while the Congress has slumped to 32 per cent from 38.6 per cent in the last polls.
In more good news for Chief Minister Raman Singh, pro-incumbency is the state is almost as high as 2008. Then, 51 per cent of the voters wanted to give the state government another chance, and now it is 47 per cent. Over two-thirds (66 per cent) are satisfied with the BJP government's performance, a fall of 6 points from the 2008 level. Governance, development work and food security are the main reasons cited by those who are satisfied with the Raman Singh government.
The food security law of Chhattisgarh government has benefitted many, with 80 per cent saying they receive 35 kg food grain per month at highly subsidised rates, while among the BPL households the figure is as high as 93.
Satisfaction with Raman Singh's performance as Chief Minister also continues to be very high with 69 per cent backing him. Singh remains the most preferred choice for CM, particularly among the upper castes, leading Congress leader Ajit Jogi by almost 18 percentage points .
Factionalism in Congress was also a part of the problems. More people agree than disagree with the statement that the Congress has not given Ajit Jogi the respect he deserves, and this sentiment is stronger among the traditional supporters of the party. In the event of the Congress coming to power, most want Jogi as the chief minister.
While voters see no difference between the Congress and BJP when it comes to corruption, the latter is viewed as being much better for development and for tackling Naxalism.
How Chhattisgarh is likely to vote
North Chhattisgarh (34 seats) will see a good contest between the BJP and Congress. While the BJP is ahead, the Congress is not too far behind.
But the BJP is ahead of the Congress in Central Chhattisgarh (43 seats) and South Chhattisgarh (13 seats). In the Naxalism-affected areas, too, the BJP leads the Congress, while in the other regions the ruling party is way ahead of its rival.Seat projection by Dr Rajeeva Karandikar, Director, Chennai Mathematical Institute