As per the latest trends reported by the Election Commission (EC), the BJP has taken a lead in 54 seats, surpassing the halfway mark of 46 required for a majority. Meanwhile, the Congress is trailing with leads in 35 seats. The allegations against Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, particularly regarding the Mahadev betting app, have played a pivotal role in shaping the electoral outcome.
The BJP’s star campaigner, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, actively targeted Chief Minister Baghel during the campaign, highlighting allegations of corruption and a job scam. The aggressive campaign seems to have resonated with voters, contributing to the BJP’s significant lead in the ongoing assembly polls.
The Mahadev betting app controversy, which garnered widespread attention in the run-up to the elections, appears to have swayed public opinion against the Congress. The BJP’s successful strategy, coupled with the perceived anti-incumbency sentiment, has propelled the party toward a substantial victory in Chhattisgarh.
The Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP) and Communist Party of India, each leading on one seat, namely Pali-Tanakhar and Konta respectively, according to the ECI data.
A total of 1,181 candidates contested seeking a mandate to the 90-member assembly. During aggressive campaigning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had raked up the issue of the Mahadev app ‘scam’ and asked the Congress to reveal how much money the Chief Minister got and how much of it was transferred to the party’s high command.
“I have some questions for the Congress leaders who are fond of teaching mathematics…I want to ask some questions about the party. The ‘Mahadev betting app scam’ is worth Rs 508 crore and the investigating agencies have recovered loads of cash in this case. A close aide of the Chhattisgarh CM is also in jail,” PM Modi had said during the election rally in Chhattisgarh’s Mungeli.
“Congress should reveal how much money the CM received in this. How much money have the other leaders of the party received and how much money has reached Delhi?” he added.
The Directorate of Enforcement (ED), which is investigating the Mahadev Book Online Betting APP syndicate, claimed earlier that by questioning Asim Das, an arrested cash courier from the UAE, and the forensic examination of the phone recovered from him, and examination of an email sent by one of the high-ranking accused of Mahadev network, many startling facts came to light.
The agency claimed that regular payments were made in the past and, so far, about Rs 508 crore has been paid by the promoters of the Mahadev betting app to CM Bhupesh Baghel.
The source of these alleged payments is under investigation, they added. The polling in the state was held in two phases.
The first phase was held in 20 constituencies on November 7 with 223 candidates in the contest while the polling in the remaining constituencies with 958 candidates were held in the second phase on November 17.
The voter turnout for both phases combined was 76.31 per cent, slightly lower than the 2018 polls. In the first phase, 78 per cent of voter turnout was recorded and in the second phase, it was 75.88 per cent.
The four main contenders in the Chhattisgarh Elections 2023 are the BJP, Congress, Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (JCC) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
Other regional outfits like the Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP), Hamar Raj Party (HRP) and the Left parties are also in the contest.
The results of assembly polls in four states – Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Telangana- are being considered as the semifinal before the Lok Sabha polls which are scheduled for 2024.