Congress candidate and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel is trailing in the high-stakes Patan Assembly seat in a neck-and-neck battle with his nephew, Vijay Baghel, a BJP candidate. Vijay Baghel is a Lok Sabha MP from Durg.
While Vijay Baghel is ahead of his chief minister uncle in Patan, Chhattisgarh Deputy Chief Minister TS Singh Deo is leading in the Ambikapur seat, according to initial reports.
The Baghels have clashed in elections earlier in 2008 and 2013, with each emerging victorious once.
Bhupesh Baghel's track record of five consecutive wins from Patan since 1993 solidified his stand on his turf, however, Vijay Baghel's popularity in the Durg region and his appeal among the youth in the area make him a formidable contender.
Other than the Baghels, Amit Jogi is spicing up the Patan fight. Amit Jogi is the Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) state president and son of former CM late Ajit Jogi.
Most exit polls, including the India Today-My Axis exit poll, have predicted a win for the Congress in Chhattisgarh with the BJP not far behind in a neck-to-neck contest in the state. Other parties, including the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Gondvana Gantantra Party (GGP), are likely to between one to five seats, according to the India Today-Axis My India exit poll.
"We have conducted our assessment, and we are very confident that the Congress will form a government with a comfortable majority," Deputy CM TS Singh Deo had said shortly after exit polls results were out.
Counting of votes in elections to the Chhattisgarh assembly started at 8 am on Sunday. Of the five poll-bound states, Chhattisgarh voted to choose its next Assembly in two phases as voting for the 90-member Assembly took place on November 7 and November 17.
A total of 1,181 candidates are in the fray, including CM Bhupesh Baghel, his deputy TS Singh Deo (both from Congress) and former CM Raman Singh of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Postal ballots were counted between 8 am and 8.30 am, after which the counting of votes through EVMs began in the presence of officials and political parties' authorised agents.
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