The election was necessitated as Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Vikram Usendi resigned after he was elected to the Lok Sabha from Kanker.

Chhattisgarh has always witnessed a bipolar contest between the ruling BJP and the Congress. However, the Antagarh bypoll will be an exception.

Congress candidate Manturam Pawar embarrassed his party by withdrawing his candidature in the final hour on the last day of withdrawal of nomination papers on August 30.

As many as 10 candidates withdrew their nominations in one hour on August 30 and now just two candidates are in the fray.

The contest will be between BJP's Bhojraj Nag and a virtually unknown Rupdhar Pudo of the Ambedkarite Party of India.Congress state president Bhupesh Baghel said, "The BJP exercised money and muscle power to force Pawar to give up contest."

“The entire local bureaucracy too helped the BJP to ensure that Congress does not contest. It was unethical on the part of the BJP and we took the matter to the  Election Commission and also held a sit-in in Delhi to demand cancellation of the Antagarh bypoll," he said.

However, BJP's state chief Dharamlal Kaushik rejected the Congress charges.

"The BJP wanted a contest in Antagarh but the Congress nominee ran away entirely because of the internal rift within the party," he said.

Former Congress legislator Pawar has a significant hold in Antagarh. He lost the 2008 polls to the BJP by merely 100 votes and in 2013 by 5,100 votes.

Political analysts say that Pawar, known to be a die-hard supporter of former chief minister Ajit Jogi, pulled out from the election to expose the leadership ability of Baghel who has had a tense relationship with Jogi.

The wheelchair-bound Jogi had hit out at Baghel last week saying Pawar was fielded despite his reluctance to contest. The results would be announced on September 16.

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