Chhattisgarh BJP banks on new chief to do well in Lok Sabha polls
The BJP, which suffered a drubbing at the hands of the Congress in the Chhattisgarh elections last year, is hoping its new state unit chief Vikram Usendi will revive the party's fortunes in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
While the BJP's tally in the 90-member Assembly plummeted to just 15 seats, it fared well in the Lok Sabha polls (2004, 2009 and 2014) held after the formation of Chhattisgarh, winning 10 out of 11 seats all the three times.
BJP president Amit Shah on Friday appointed Usendi, a Lok Sabha member and prominent tribal face, as its Chhattisgarh BJP chief, replacing Dharmalal Kaushik.
One of the key tasks for Usendi will be to reclaim the support of his community, which constitutes about 32 per cent of the state's population.
"Usendi is a senior tribal leader and active across the state. The party will benefit from his image in the general elections," state BJP spokesperson Sachchidanand Upasane told PTI.
"We are confident Usendi will continue to get the support of tribals in the Lok Sabha polls, as we received in the past," he said.
However, the Congress, which regained power in Chhattisgarh after 15 years, believes Usendi's appointment will not affect its prospects in the Lok Sabha polls.
"The BJP would definitely suffer a setback in the state in the general polls. Usendi has been made the state unit chief so that the blame for BJP's defeat could be put on him," he claimed.
Out of 11 Lok Sabha seats in the state, four are reserved for the Scheduled Tribe (ST) category and one for the Scheduled Caste (SC) category.