image image image image image

Countdown to the 2023 Chhattisgarh Assembly Election: Strategies and Rallies


As the upcoming election date approaches, we reflect on the political dynamics in Chattisgarh following the first phase, which saw over a 70% voter turnout. The end of the 15-year BJP rule in 2018 marked a significant shift in the state's political landscape after Raman Singh's era as the Chief Minister. The Congress party managed to wrest the seat from the BJP, securing a substantial 10% lead which previously used to be marginal. At present, the Congress holds power in the state under Chief Minister Bhupesh Singh Baghel. This article delves into the strategies employed by the Congress to reclaim its power and the BJP's efforts to regain influence and establish a presence in the state.

Assembly Elections Seats (2013) Seats (2018)
INC 39 67
BJP 49 18
Others 2 5

Source : ECI

In contrast to the BJP, which leans heavily on its central leadership that is Prime Minister Modi, the Congress, has granted significant autonomy to Baghel in shaping its electoral strategy in Chhattisgarh. Congress aims to leverage the populist measures in favour of farmers, tribal communities, and the underprivileged that the Bhupesh Baghel government has introduced in the state. The incumbent party also hopes to capitalise on CM Baghel's popularity, given his strong influence over OBC and rural voters while BJP aims to rely on the popularity of PM Modi.

Caste and religion continue to play a significant role in shaping the outcome of elections. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during a public address in Durg, Chhattisgarh, emphasised that the most significant caste in the country is that of the poor, stating that he is their 'sevak' (servant).

The Baghel government introduced the reservation amendment Bills in December 2022, which will provide 27% reservations to Other Backward Classes, 32% to Scheduled Tribes (32%), 13% to Scheduled Castes and 4% to Economically Weaker Sections in both employment and educational institutions. These bills can influence voters from these communities to vote for Congress.

The BJP has intensified its Hindutva agenda in Chhattisgarh, with a group of hardline candidates leading the party's charge. Amit Shah has highlighted the rise in religious conversions especially of tribals under Congress’s rule. The BJP party has also presented a list of 69 allegations against Congress, including instances of mass conversion of tribals.

Among these allegations is the claim that the State Congress was using Naxals to target BJP workers, resulting in the deaths of five individuals in Maoist attacks over the past year. However, Congress claims it has reduced the violence in the region. There are accusations and counter-accusations regarding secret alliances between Maoists and local leaders from both the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP.

In a bid to counter the rising influence of Hindutva forces within the State, the Congress party is adopting a nuanced approach by projecting Baghel as a devout Hindu hailing from the Kurmi caste. As such, the political strategy of the Congress government in Chhattisgarh has taken a decisive right turn. In 2021, the state inaugurated the Ram Van Gaman Tourism Circuit, focusing on developing sites in Chhattisgarh believed to be associated with Lord Rama and Sita during their 14-year exile.

The issues of tribals have taken a centre stage in the election campaign. Contentious matters such as coal mining and environmental concerns as well as mass conversions have sparked political debates. In contrast, Congress continues to criticise the BJP government for its mistreatment of tribal communities. During a public meeting in Jagdalpur, a tribal-dominated area in Bastar, Rahul Gandhi criticised the BJP for disrespecting tribals by referring to them as 'vanvasis' instead of 'adivasis'. He pledged to eliminate the term 'vanvasi' from the country, highlighting the derogatory connotations associated with it. He also cited incidents of BJP MLA’s disrespecting the tribal community.

BJP's election campaign relies heavily on emphasising the alleged scams committed by the Congress government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted a series of scams perpetrated by the state government, and accused them of looting the people of Chhattisgarh to the fullest. He specifically mentioned the PSC scam and Mahadev APP scam, along with additional instances such as liquor, cement, rice, and gotham scams.

The Enforcement Directorate's have alleged that promoters of the Mahadev betting app had allegedly paid Rs 508 crore to Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. In response, the Congress retaliated, claiming that the ED's accusations against Baghel were part of a BJP conspiracy to tarnish his image. Consequently, the saffron party is accused of misusing central agencies, including the ED and the CBI, to smear the image of opposition leaders.

Development Schemes and Promises

The Congress party, recognizing the significance of the farmer's vote bank, has implemented several initiatives and promises to garner support from the farming community. During the 2018 Assembly polls, the Congress pledged to pay paddy farmers a bonus of Rs 600 per quintal over and above the Centre-mandated minimum support price for the crop. After winning the election, the party followed through on this promise, boosting its credibility among farmers.

BJP and Congress have both engaged in a fierce battle over this voter base. However amidst this political competition, it is the farmers who stand to gain the most. The ruling party has promised to procure 20 quintals of paddy from farmers at a rate of Rs 3,200 per quintal as opposed to the BJP's offer of Rs 3,100 at 21 quintals. Furthermore, the Congress proposed a substantial Rs 6,000 per sack rate for tendu leaves, overshadowing the BJP's Rs 5,500 offer. In addition to these measures, the Congress government has increased the assistance amount for landless farmers from ₹7,000 to ₹10,000.

Both the Congress and the BJP have outlined promising initiatives to support youth and education in their respective manifestos. The BJP and Congress, have committed to providing a substantial 50 percent subsidy on business loans, aiming to encourage the growth of small businesses and startups in the state.

On the other hand, the BJP's manifesto includes a provision for a monthly travel allowance for students commuting to college, facilitated through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), ensuring financial support for students' educational needs.They also aim to set up educational institutions such as IIT, AIIMS etc in the state. The Congress party has promised free education up to post-graduation.

For appealing to women voters, BJP, under its proposed 'Mahtari Vandan Scheme,' pledges substantial financial aid of Rs 12,000 per year to married women, along with providing cooking gas cylinders at a reduced rate of Rs 500 each for women from impoverished families.Congress has promised a direct subsidy of Rs 500 on gas cylinder refills as well which would be directly transferred to an individual's bank account.

Both parties have promised a provision of free medical treatment up to an impressive Rs 10 lakh for underprivileged citizens. However, the Congress has made significant strides by extending the coverage to Above Poverty Line (APL) families, elevating the threshold to Rs 5 lakh from the previous Rs 50,000.


Amidst the predictions favouring the Congress in the upcoming polls, the question looms large: can the BJP government successfully reverse the current tide in its favour? The BJP government initially focused on national rather than regional concerns but has recently shifted its approach, emphasising local issues, as evident from its welfare scheme promises. The candidate selection and campaign strategy highlight the party's reliance on promoting a Hindutva image and tarnishing the Congress image through corruption allegations. However, the core of Chhattisgarh politics revolves around the tribal and farmer voter base. Securing the support of this crucial demographic is imperative for winning the election.

The outcome of this election holds significant importance as it will establish a precedent for the strategies that need to be adopted in the upcoming 2024 elections.

Sara Nasreen

Branding image

Registered Address:

A237 2nd floor, JMD megapolis, Sector 48 Sohna road,
Gurgaon, Haryana -122018

Contact Us

Please send your queries to :

Dhruv Research owned by DHRUVA RESEARCH
Copyright © 2021 DHRUVA RESEARCH.
All rights reserved.

Privacy Policy

Indian Constitutional
provisions for Surveys