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Chhattisgarh News
BJP retains Chhattisgarh’s Maoist-hit Bastar and Kanker seats

RAIPUR: Despite facing a rout from the Congress in the Vidhan Sabha polls in the Naxal hit areas of the Bastar and Kanker constituencies, the BJP managed to retain both the parliamentary seats. While it’s Bastar candidate, Dinesh Kashyap, won with a comfortable margin of over 1.24 lakh votes over Congress nominee, Deepak Karma, in Kanker sitting MLA, Vikram Usendi, retained the seat for the party by defeating Phulo Devi Netam by 35,158 votes.

Interestingly, in both these constituencies, NOTA (None of the Above) turned out to be the third choice of the voters with over 38,000 people opting for it in Bastar and 31,917 in Kanker. Of the total 16 assembly seats falling in these two constituencies, the Congress had won 11 in the assembly polls.

In Bastar, the much-hyped AAP candidate, Soni Sori, a tribal teacher who was granted permanent bail by the apex court in a Naxal related case, managed to garner only 16,903 votes. Her tally was in fact even lesser than the CPI candidate and her niece, Bimla Sori, who polled 33,883 votes.

While Dinesh Kashyap polled 50.11% of the total votes, the Congress managed to secure 33.96%. The polling percentage of the AAP candidate was merely 2.19%.

The sympathy factor, post Darbha killing of the Congress on May 25 last, which apparently helped the Congress win five of the eight assembly segments falling in Bastar in the Vidhan Sabha polls, failed to work this time. The party candidate, Deepak Karma, son of the slain leader and founder of Salva Judum, Mahendra Karma, managed to secure 2,61,470 votes, as compared to BJP's 3,85,829 votes.

In Kanker, despite its decision to replace four times MP, Sohan Potai, the BJP managed to retain the seat by fielding it's sitting Antagarh MLA, Vikram Usendi. Usendi polled 45.74% of the total votes, as compared to 42.28% by his rival, Netam. The percentage of votes polled for NOTA was 3.13% and by CPI candidate, Ramesh Gavde, was 2.30% (23,482). The AAP candidate, Santosh Kumar Dhruv, managed to get only 10,606 votes.

The BJP had won from these two constituencies even in 2009 and 2004 Lok Sabha polls.