A vitriolic campaign for the second phase of Lok Sabha elections in Chhattisgarh for three seats ended Monday during which the BJP and the Congress traded barbs over Rafale fighter jet deal and agricultural issues.
A total of 36 candidates are in the fray from Rajnandgaon, Mahasamund and Kanker (ST) seats.
Altogether, 49,07,489 voters, including 24,69,110 women, 24,38,320 men and 59 members of the third gender, are eligible to exercise their franchise.
Fresh from its victory in the assembly elections last year after a 15 year gap, the Congress is hoping to improve its tally in the state against the BJP, which had won 10 out of 11 seats in 2014 beneral polls.
"The campaign for the three constituencies ended at 5 pm," a poll official said, adding that political parties and candidates can take up door-to-door campaign before polling on April 18.
The overall campaigning remained a low-key compared to the 2018 assembly elections.
At the hustings, BJP top brass targetted the Congress and the Gandhi family besides raising the issues concerning national security.
The Congress highlighted the loan waiver granted by the party government in the state for farmers after coming to power last year and giving MSP of Rs 2500 against paddy procurement.
Congress leaders also attacked PM Modi over the Rafale jets deal and also accused him of betraying people by not fulfilling the promises made during the 2014 general elections.
The BJP has fielded Santosh Pandey, incumbent general secretary of the state unit, in high-profile Rajnandgaon seat by denying ticket to sitting MP Abhishek Singh, son of former chief minister Raman Singh. Pandey is pitted against former Congress MLA Bholaram Sahu.
In naxal-hit Kanker seat, the BJP has denied renomination to MP Vikram Usendi, incumbent president of its state unit, and fielded a fresh face Mohan Mandavi. The Congress has pinned its hopes on Biresh Thakur, also a fresh face.
Officials said necessary security arrangements are being made to ensure free and fair polling.
Naxal-hit Bastar (ST) constituency had gone to polls during the first phase on April 11.
Remaining seven seats will go to polls during the last phase on April 23.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)