10% polling reported in first few hours of Chhattisgarh Assembly election.
Raipur – At least ten percent polling was reported in the first few hours of the first phase of the two-phased assembly elections in Chhattisgarh on Monday.
Assembly polls are being held in 18 constituencies of the Naxal-hit Bastar region and Rajnandgaon District.
The voting process commenced at a slow pace on Monday, even as there were reports of violence, including a bomb attack in the Kanker region.
“Polling in 12 constituencies of Bastar and one in Rajnandgaon district began at 7 a.m., while in the rest of the seats in Rajnandgaon, it started at 8 a.m. So far, around ten percent polling has been registered,” the office of Chief Electoral Officer of Chhattisgarh was quoted by the media, as saying.
Voting in the Chhote Pakhanjore and Sitaramaiyya constituencies of Kanker is yet to take off, as polling officials have not been able to reach these destinations due to a Naxal-related blockage.
An encounter between security forces and Maoists has been reported near some polling booths in Naxal-hit Dantewada District of southern Chhattisgarh inspite of polling. At least eight IED explosives have been recovered in the district and defused, said an official. Firing was specifically reported from three places in the district.
In all, 143 candidates from 12 constituencies are in the fray in Bastar division and six constituencies of Rajnandgaon district.
About 29,33,200 voters are exercising their franchise in the first of the two-phased poll to the 90-member Chhattisgarh State Assembly.
Chief Minister Raman Singh is aiming to achieve a hat-trick of wins at the polls.
Maximum number of candidates have been fielded in two constituencies- Rajnandgaon and Jagdalpur (14 in each) and least number of candidates are in Konta (4).
Apart from Raman Singh, the electoral fate of three of his ministers – Kedar Kashyap, Lata Usendi and Vikram Usendi – will be determined today.
In all, 4,142 polling booths have been set up for the first phase of which 1,517 have been declared as sensitive, and 1,311 as hyper-sensitive.
In the last assembly elections in 2008, the BJP won 15 of the 18 seats, while Congress won three in Bastar and Rajanandgaon.
The second phase of polls for 72 assembly constituencies will take place on November 19.
A total of 56,200 security personnel have been recently sent by the Centre for security related duty in addition to the existing 40,000 paramilitaries engaged in anti-Naxal operations and other security related duty in the state.