Despite past losses, Aam Aadmi Party hopes to MAKE A MARK in Chhattisgarh; releases fourth candidate list for assembly polls


The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has released its fourth list of 12 candidates for next month’s Chhattisgarh Assembly elections. With this, the Arvind Kejriwal-led party has so far released the names of 45 candidates for polls in the Congress-ruled State. Elections to the 90-member Chhattisgarh Assembly will be held in two phases on 7 and 17 November.

“Announcement. The fourth list of candidates for the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections is here. All the best to all candidates. Is baar chalegi jhadu (this time broom will sweep). #ChhattisgarhMangeKejriwal,” the AAP said on X (formerly Twitter) on 22 October, while posting the list.

Out of these 12 seats, six are reserved for Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates and another seat for Scheduled Caste (SC) candidates. The AAP tried its luck for the first time in the 2018 Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh and fielded candidates in 85 out of the total 90 seats, but failed to open its account in the State. The candidates announced in the fourth list are – Dev Ganesh Tekam (Samri-ST), Alexander (Lundra-ST), Munna Toppo (Sitapur-ST), Prakash Toppo (Jashpur-ST), Gopal Bapudia (Raigarh), Sobram Singh Saima (Pali-Tanakhar -ST), Parmeshwar Prasad Sandey (Janjgir-Champa), Neelam Dhruv (Khallari), Santosh Yadu (Baloda Bazar), Vijay Gurubaxani (Raipur North), Parmanand Jangde (Arang-SC) and Bhagirathi Manjhi (Bindranawagarh-ST). The ruling Congress has announced candidates for all 90 seats, while the Opposition BJP has declared its candidates for 86 seats.

Earlier, the party had declared the names of 10 candidates in the first list, 12 names in its second list, and 11 in the third list. With this, a total of 45 candidates so far have been declared for the Chhattisgarh assembly elections. Recently, the party, led by its national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, released a list of 37 star campaigners for the Chhattisgarh polls. The list included the Delhi CM and his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann, among others.

The AAP had earlier also written to the Election Commission of India (ECI) requesting them to reschedule the polling date in view of the Chhath Puja festival. Chhatt Puja 2023 will be celebrated from 17-20 November. In its letter, the party has proposed to change the second phase of polling date from 17 November to 25 November. The AAP had tried its luck for the first time in the 2018 assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, fielding candidates in 85 of the total 90 seats but failed to make an impact in the state with a vote share of 0.9%.

Speaking of the 2018 poll results, Congress won 68 seats out of 90 in Chhattisgarh, garnering a vote share of 43.9%, whereas, the BJP managed to win 15 seats and gathered a vote share of 33.6%. Meanwhile, after scrutiny of nomination papers on Saturday in 20 assembly constituencies of the first phase of Chhattisgarh Assembly Elections 2023, the nominations of a total of 253 candidates were found valid. It is noteworthy that till 20 October, the last day of nomination in the first phase, a total of 294 candidates had filed nominations.

In the first phase of the assembly election, 14 in Antagarh constituency, 15 in Bhanupratappur, 10 in Kanker, 10 in Keshkal, 10 in Kondagaon, nine in Narayanpur, eight in Bastar, 13 in Jagdalpur, 7 in Chitrakote, seven in Dantewada, seven in Bijapur, and nine in Konta were found valid. Similarly, nominations of 11 candidates in Khairagarh, 13 in Dongargarh, 35 in Rajnandgaon, 15 in Dongargaon, 10 in Khujji, 10 in Mohla-Manpur, 21 in Kawardha, and 16 in Pandariya have been found valid.

In August, the AAP national convener on Saturday announced a list of “guarantees” for the Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh ahead of the upcoming state elections and said that, unlike others, his assurances were not empty promises made in a “fake manifesto”. “Today I am giving you ten guarantees, which are not like a fake manifesto or ‘sankalp patra’.

Kejriwal will die [if it comes to it] but fulfil these promises,” he said, and released a “guarantee card” with details of nine promises, adding that the tenth guarantee will cater to farmers and tribals but he will reveal it during his next visit. The guarantees rolled out by Kejriwal included 24-hour uninterrupted power supply—free up to 300 units—to every household, waiver of pending electricity bills till November 2023, ₹1,000 monthly “samman rashi” [honorarium] to all women aged above 18 years and free quality school education.

Implementation of PESA Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act
Financial assistance of ₹1,000 for women
Monthly ₹3,000 unemployment allowance
Free electricity up to 300 units for 24 hours and waiver of pending bills
Assitance of ₹1 crore for families of martyred security personnel