According to the survey, 45% of voters feel Congress improved the condition of tribals (File)
Chhattisgarh voters have given the ruling Congress a thumbs-up when it comes to the condition of tribal communities and its handling of the Maoist situation, according to the NDTV-CSDS Lokniti prepoll survey. The positive feedback will come as a boost for Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel amid allegations - made four days before the first phase of the 2023 Chhattisgarh Assembly election - that he received over Rs 500 crore in bribes from the promoters of the illegal Mahadev gaming app.
The approval is also crucial because tribal communities make up nearly 30 per cent of the state's population; they are concentrated in the Bastar and Surguja regions of the state. There are three seats in each - Bastar, Jagdalpur and Chitrakot, and Lundra, Ambikapur and Sitapur. Of these only Jagdalpur and Sitapur are not reserved for ST candidates, but all six were won by the Congress in the 2018 election. In Chhattisgarh's 90-member Assembly, 29 seats are reserved for ST lawmakers.
According to the opinion poll, 45 per cent of voters feel the Baghel government has improved the condition of tribal communities, while 21 per cent believe it has worsened. And 30 per cent of voters believe Mr Baghel has dealt, at least satisfactorily, with the Maoist threat, while 22 per cent believe he has not.
Mr Baghel has also earned a high score on farmers' condition, with a mammoth 61 per cent of voters suggesting his administration has improved their fortunes. Only 20 per cent believe this is not the case.
The state has also been given good marks for an improved road network and better government-run schools and hospitals, as well as stable electricity and drinking water supply. In fact, on the electricity and state-run schools front, Mr Baghel's government has received a 64 per cent favourable rating, while it got a 56 per cent score for hospitals and roads.
Overall, 79 per cent of voters are at least somewhat satisfied with the Congress' performance over the last five years, and only 10 per cent are completely dissatisfied. This is good news in a state that has so far voted out the incumbent party, although it is perhaps too early to pay attention to that trend; this is only the sixth Assembly election in the state.
The NDTV-CSDS Lokniti opinion poll was conducted over a week starting October 24 and covered 25 of the state's 90 Assembly constituences. A total of 2,541 respondents were polled.
The state will vote in two phases - November 7 and 17 - and results will be out on December 3.