Campaigning ends for Marwahi bypoll in C'garh, voting on Nov 3

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Raipur, Nov 1 (PTI) Campaigning for the bypoll to Marwahi Assembly constituency in Chhattisgarh ended on Sunday evening, with voting scheduled for November 3, an official said.

The bypoll has been necessitated after Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) MLA and former chief minister Ajit Jogi died in May this year.

The seat has been a bastion of the Jogi family for several years now, but the fight this time is between the Congress and the BJP after the nomination papers of Amit Jogi and his wife Richa were rejected by the returning officer, who said their caste certificates were invalid.

The JCC(J) has announced support to the BJP in the fight claiming the Congress was insulting the legacy of Ajit Jogi.

Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel led the Congress campaign, while the main face of the BJP was its national vice president and multiple-time CM Raman Singh.

The Congress highlighted several pro-farmer and pro- tribal measures taken by the Baghel government, including the Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojna, cow dung procurement scheme, distribution of forest rights certificates, and relief measures to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.

During its campaign, the opposition BJP, however, accused the Congress government of failing on all fronts and alleged that the law and order situation in the state has deteriorated.

In all, eight candidates are contesting from Marwahi, including Congress' K K Dhruw, a former medical officer from the area, and BJP's Gambheer Singh, a former professor of Pt Jawahar Lal Nehru Memorial Medical College, Raipur.

The other candidates in the fray are Ritu Pandram of Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP), Dr Urmila Singh Marko of Rashtriya Gondwana Party, Pushpa Khelan Korche of Ambedkarite Party of India, Beersingh Nagesh of Bharatiya Tribal Party, Lakshman Porte of Bharatiya Sarvajan Hitay Samaj Party and independent Sonmati Salam.

'As many as 1,90,907 voters- 93,694 males, 97,209 females and four from the third gender- can exercise their franchise, for which 286 polling stations have been set up. Of these, 126 have been recognized as sensitive,' a poll official said.

The counting of votes will take place on November 10.