The initial list of 21 candidates was released a day after the BJP central committee met in New Delhi to discuss the potential candidates. Apart from BJP President J P Nadda, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, and BJP Vice-President Raman Singh, former Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, and State BJP President Arun Sao were also present.
The candidates figured in the first list are Bhulan Singh Maravi (Premnagar), Laxmi Rajwade (Bhatgaon), Shakuntala Singh Porthe (Partappur-ST), Ram Vichar Netam (Ramanujganj-ST), Praboj Bhinj (Lundra-ST), Mahesh Sahu (Kharasia), Harishchandra Rathia (Dharamjaigarh-ST), Lakhanlal Dewangan (Korba), Pranav Kumar Marpachhi (Marwahi-ST), Sarla Kosaria (Saraipali-SC), Alka Chandrakar (Khallari), Indra Kumar Sahu (Abhanpur), Rohit Sahu (Rajim), Sharavan Markam (Sihava-ST), Devlal Halwa Thakur (Dondilohara-ST), Vijay Baghel (Patan), Vikrant Singh (Khairagrah), Geeta Ghasi Sahi (Khujji), Sanjeev Saha (Mohala Manpur), Asaram Netam (Kanker-ST), and Maniram Kashyap (Bastar-ST).
Prominent among the BJP candidates are Vijay Baghel, a relative of Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, and former State Home Minister Ram Vichar Netam, who also previously held the position of National General Secretary of the BJP.
The main opposition party, which lost power to the Congress in the 2018 elections, has opted to introduce new faces in most of the constituencies. In the last assembly elections, O P Choudhary, who left the IAS to join the BJP, had contested the Kharasia seat. However, he was not given a ticket this time as the party chose to field a new face, Mahesh Sahu. There are indications that former IAS O P Choudhary might be fielded either from the Raigarh or Chandrapur constituency.
Similarly, Chandrasekhar Sahu, who lost the Abhanpur seat as a minister in the 2018 elections, has been denied a ticket this time. The party has nominated Indra Kumar Sahu to contest for the Abhanpur seat.
The first list suggests that the BJP, which only managed to win 15 out of 90 seats in the 2018 elections, is heavily relying on new faces in the upcoming elections to capitalize on anti-incumbency sentiment against the sitting Congress legislators and wrest power from the Congress. There is strong speculation that the BJP might even deny tickets to several of its current legislators, including senior leaders, in the assembly elections. Some of them could potentially be asked to contest the next Lok Sabha elections scheduled for 2024.
Earlier, the Bahujan Samaj Party had announced its list of nine candidates for the assembly elections. Among them are two sitting MLAs, including a woman. Legislators Keshav Prasad Chandra and Indu Banjare, who represent the Jaijaipur (Sakti district) and Scheduled Caste-reserved Pamgarh (Janjgir-Champa district) seats, respectively, have been fielded from their respective segments.
According to the list, the other candidates are Dauram Ratnakar (Masturi-SC), Omprakash Bachpayee (Nawagarh-SC), Radheshyam Suryavanshi (Janjgir-Champa), Dr. Vinod Sharma (Akaltara), Shyam Tandan (Bilaigarh-SC), Ramkumar Suryavanshi (Beltara), and Anand Tigga (Samri-ST).