Even as the Congress faced a severe drubbing in the Chhattisgarh assembly polls at the hands of the BJP, the grand old party by and large retained its hold over seats reserved for the Scheduled Caste candidates.
The Congress this time won six of the 10 seats reserved for the SC category, one less than in 2018.
The Scheduled Castes make up roughly about 12 per cent of the state's population of around three crore.
The BJP on Sunday won the Chhattisgarh polls, winning 54 of the 90 seats in the state assembly, while the Congress got 35 seats. The Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP) bagged one seat.
In 2018, the Congress bagged seven out of the 10 SC-reserved seats, while the BJP got two and the Bahujan Samaj Party secured one seat.
This time, the Congress won six seats in this category- Sarangarh, Masturi, Pamgarh, Saraipali, Bilaigarh and Dongargarh.
Of these six seats, Masturi and Pamgarh were won by the BJP and BSP, respectively, in 2018.
In Sarangarh, the Congress this time fielded its sitting MLA Uttari Ganpat Jangde, who defeated BJP's Shivkumari Chouhan by a margin of 29,695 votes.
The Congress denied tickets to its sitting MLAs in Saraipali, Bilaigarh and Dongargarh segments and fielded fresh faces - all women - Chaturi Nand, Kavita Pran Lahrey and Harshita Swami Baghel, respectively, and all the three registered victory.
In Pamgarh too, the Congress fielded a fresh face, woman candidate Sheshraj Harbans, who also emerged victorious against BJP's Santosh Kumar Lahre.
BSP's sitting MLA Indu Banjare stood at the third position in Pamgarh.
In Masturi, Congress's former MLA Dilip Lahariya defeated BJP's incumbent legislator Krishnamurti Bandhi by a margin of 20,141 votes.
However, Congress' two influential leaders from the SC community and incumbent ministers Shivkumar Dahariya and Guru Rudra Kumar were defeated by their BJP rivals.
Dahariya lost Arang seat to BJP's Guru Khushwant Saheb by a margin 16,538 votes.
Khushwant Saheb is the son of Satnami sect Guru Baldas Saheb, who joined the BJP along with his son after quitting the Congress ahead of the assembly polls.
A majority of the SC population follows the Satnami sect, founded by Baba Guru Ghasidas, in Chhattisgarh.
The Congress this time fielded Guru Rudra Kumar, also a Satnami sect guru, from Nawagarh seat where it denied ticket to its sitting MLA.
Rudra Kumar suffered defeat in Nawagarh against senior BJP leader and former minister Dayaldas Baghel by a margin of 15,177 votes.
In 2018, Rudra Kumar won the election from Ahiwara seat where the Congress this time fielded a fresh face, Nirmal Kosare.
Ahiwara and Mungeli are the two other SC-reserved seats won by the BJP this time.
Senior BJP leader Punnulal Mohile, a six-term MLA and four-time MP, won his traditional Mungeli seat by a margin of 11,781 votes against Congress' Sanjeet Banarjee.
In Ahiwara, BJP's former MLA Domanlal Korsewada defeated Congress' Nirmal Kosare by a margin of 25,263 votes.
In the 2013 polls, the BJP won nine out of the 10 SC seats, while the Congress got just one.
In the 2008 polls, the BJP and Congress won five and four seats, respectively, under the SC category, while one was bagged by the BSP.
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