BJP on Saturday retained the Naxal-hit Antagarh constituency in Chhattisgarh with its candidate Bhojraj Naag winning the bypoll, defeating his lone opponent Rupdhar Pudo of Ambedkarite Party of India by over 50,000 votes.
Naag gained an impressive lead as soon as counting started from 8 AM at Bhanupratap Dev PG college of Kanker district headquarter, which was expected in the absence of the Congress candidate who surprisingly pulled out from the contest at the last moment.
After counting of votes in 15 rounds, Naag won by a margin of around 52,000 votes, an election official here told PTI.
Voter turnout of 58.73 per cent was recorded in the Antagarh assembly seat bypoll which was held on September 13.
14 candidates had filed their nominations and after scrutiny and withdrawal of nominations only two candidates – Bhojraj Naag from BJP and Rupdhar Pudo of Ambedkarite Party of India – were left in the fray.
The bypoll was necessitated after BJP legislator Vikram Usendi resigned following his election to the Lok Sabha from Kanker seat.
Voting on this seat was held along with by-elections to 32 other assembly constituencies in nine states, where BJP lost 13 out of the 23 seats held by it in results declared on September 16.
Congress, which has been struggling after facing a humiliating defeat in both Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in Chhattisgarh, had declared Manturam Pawar as its candidate from the seat anticipating a good show.
Pawar surprisingly withdrew his nomination before the last day for withdrawal on August 29 following which he was expelled from the party.