Raipur, December 3: The early trends from Chhattisgarh Assembly Election 2023 Results show the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) moving towards victory with a comfortable lead over Congress. As of 5 pm, the BJP was leading on 56 seats. The Congress, which a majority of exit polls predicted would win Chhattisgarh again and was also ahead in early leads, was stunned by the BJP as the vote count picked up. While the BJP celebrates, the party must also decide on its chief ministerial candidate for Chattisgarh. Raman Singh, OP Choudhary, and Vijay Baghel are some of the leading contenders for the top post.

In this article, we at LatestLY speculate on who could be the BJP's choice for the top post. Will BJP make Dr Raman Singh, who led the 15-year-long government in Chhattisgarh from 2003 to 2018, the chief minister, or will it bet on a new face? This time, instead of declaring a candidate for the post of Chief Minister before the assembly elections, BJP had contested the polls under collective leadership by putting forward the face of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The formula of contesting elections under collective leadership paid off, and the BJP now seems to be standing on the threshold of forming the government again after five years. Chhattisgarh Assembly Election Results 2023: PM Narendra Modi's Five Rallies, Strident Attacks on Bhupesh Baghel Government Puts BJP in Driver's Seat.

Raman Singh

Raman Singh, a veteran BJP leader and former Chhattisgarh CM, served the state for 15 years from 2003 to 2018, making him one of the longest-serving chief ministers in India. He is credited with launching pro-poor policies, such as cheap rice for the poor, and building infrastructure like roads, bridges and power plants. He is also regarded as a staunch Hindutva leader who has the backing of the RSS and the upper caste voters. However, he is also accused of corruption, misrule and involvement in the massive PDS scam.

OP Choudhary

Former IAS officer OP Chaudhary is among the contenders for the Chief Minister’s post, according to some reports. This is based on a remark made by Home Minister Amit Shah during an election rally in Raigarh, where he campaigned for OP Chaudhary. He said that if the people elect OP Chaudhary, he will elevate him to a high position. Some people interpret this as a hint that OP Chaudhary could become the CM or the Deputy CM. Chhattisgarh Election 2023 Results Constituency-Wise Winners List: Seat-Wise Names of Winning Candidates of Congress, BJP and Other Parties in Vidhan Sabha Polls.

Vijay Baghel

Vijay Baghel is the MP from the Durg Lok Sabha seat, and BJP has fielded him against CM Bhupesh Baghel from Patan's seat. Vijay happens to be Bhupesh's nephew. He has emerged as a strong contender for the Chhattisgarh CM post. However, his poll debacle against his uncle Bhupesh Baghel might not work in his favour.

Arun Sao

As the President of Chhattisgarh BJP, Arun Sao spearheaded the party’s election campaign in the state. In 2003, the BJP won the state elections without announcing a CM candidate. The party then appointed its state president, Dr Raman Singh, as the chief minister. The scenario is similar this time. If BJP wins the elections, Arun Sao, the current state president, could become the next Chief Minister.

Saroj Pandey

Saroj Pandey's name is also considered in the Chhattisgarh CM race. Saroj Pandey is the national vice president of BJP and Rajya Sabha MP. Saroj is regarded as a prominent face of the BJP in Chhattisgarh. She has also been the Mayor and MLA of Bhilai twice. Saroj was elected to the Lok Sabha on BJP ticket in the 2009 general elections. However, even in the Modi wave of 2014, she lost the election from this seat. She has also been the national president of BJP Mahila Morcha.

Four exit polls predicted the Congress to cross the majority mark on its own, two more predicted 42-44, and the remaining three gave it more than 40 each. Exit polls, though, can often get it wrong. Only two of nine exit polls showed the BJP the haul of 46+ seats it needs to win the state. The 2023 Chhattisgarh elections were held in two phases: November 7 and 17. Voter turnout stood at 76.31 per cent, slightly lower than the 76.88 per cent recorded in the 2018 polls.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 03, 2023 05:09 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).