Despite LS poll loss, Cong happy to win Naxal-hit Bastar seat

Despite receiving a drubbing in the just held Lok Sabha polls, the Chhattisgarh Congress has drawn consolation by wresting the Naxal-hit Bastar seat, reserved for Scheduled Tribe candidates, which it never won in the past.

Congress nominee Dipak Baij defeated BJP's Baiduram Kashyap by a margin of 38,982 votes in Bastar.

Prior to the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress was hopeful of faring well and winning seats reserved for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe candidates as it won the Assembly polls last year with a thumping majority, uprooting the BJP which ruled the state for 15 years.

However, in the Lok Sabha polls to 11 seats in the state, the results of which were declared last Thursday, the Congress managed to win only two seats - Korba and Bastar.

But, the party is happy to have improved its tally from the previous record of winning just one seat in the state in the last three Lok Sabha polls.

"We performed well in Bastar and Kanker - both reserved for tribal candidates. Though we won only Bastar of these two, the loss margin in Kanker was just 6,914 votes. Despite a strong 'Modi wave', the Congress has improved its tally in Chhattisgarh to two seats," state Congress spokesman Shailesh Nitin Trivedi told PTI.

"It is significant that the party has won a reserved Lok Sabha seat for the first time since the formation of Chhattisgarh in November 2000. The credit goes to Congress' pro-tribal and pro-farmer measures taken in just two months of formation of its government in the state," he said.

Prior to polling in Bastar Lok Sabha seat, ultras last month killed BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi and four security personnel in the region, which has been struggling with Naxal menace for the past three decades.