The 2023 Chhattisgarh election explained

Abhay Regi Illustrations by Paramjeet Singh
29 November, 2023

Chhattisgarh went to polls in two phases, on 7 and 17 November, pitting the incumbent Congress government of Bhupesh Baghel against the Bharatiya Janata Party—which just had its first complete term in opposition in the state—and other significant regional players such as the Janata Congress Chhattisgarh, the Gondwana Ganatantra Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Hamar Raj Party and the communist parties. With 90 constituencies in 33 districts, seeing 1,181 candidates face off for the approval of more than 20.3 million voters, elections in Chhattisgarh are a complicated affair. Here, The Caravan breaks down the key parties, regions, candidates and constituencies of the polls.

The Contenders

Chhattisgarh, which was formed in November 2000, has among the most straightforward electoral histories of India’s states. In its first three elections, in 2003, 2008 and 2013, the BJP consistently won around fifty seats, while the Congress won between 37 and 39 seats. Smaller parties, such as the BSP and the communist parties, won a handful of seats as well.

Vote share followed a similar pattern, too. The BJP and Congress vote shares grew marginally, with the BJP leading consistently by a thin margin. From 2003 to 2013, the BJP grew its vote share from 39.3 percent to 42.3 percent. Meanwhile, the Congress saw a similar rise, from 36.7 percent to 41.6 percent. This decade also saw the erosion of regional forces—largely the GGP—with other parties falling from 19.6 percent to 11.7 percent, with the exception of the BSP, which swung between four and six percent.