The heated campaign for Tuesday’s (October 13) Assembly elections in Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh ended on Sunday evening.
Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla told The Hindu that all arrangements were in place to ensure a smooth and trouble-free polling in the three States. “We have reviewed all the arrangements and we are satisfied.”
Informed sources said four helicopters were deployed in Maharashtra to transport men and material as the Gadchiroli district that borders Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh witnessed the killing of 17 police personnel by naxalites a few days ago. During the Lok Sabha polls too, Maoists caused some disturbance.
As naxalites had threatened to chop off the fingers of those who voted, ignoring their boycott call, adequate security measures, including more deployment of central forces, have been made. Besides, satellite phones were given to the election staff in Maharashtra and Arunachal Pradesh, it is said.
Reserved Assembly segments Gadchiroli, Bhandara and Gondia districts were identified as sensitive and security measures stepped up there.
Maharashtra Chief Electoral Officer Debashish Chakravary told The Hindu from Mumbai that they were fully prepared to meet any challenge from outlaws. Two MI 17 helicopters of the Indian Air Force have started poll-related operation and two Cheetah helicopters would join them on Monday. “We are hopeful of an incident-free poll on Tuesday and ready to meet any challenge.”
In Maharasthra, 3,559 contestants, including 211 women and 1,820 Independents, are in the fray for the 288-member Assembly. Most of the Independents are rebels from the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party and other parties.
In Haryana for the 90-member Assembly, 1,222 candidates, including 67 women and 461 Independents, are in the race.
For the 60-member Arunachal Pradesh Assembly, the poll will be held only for 57 seats as the candidates of Tawang, Mukto and Lumla were elected unopposed.
This is the third time that Congress Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu has been re-elected unopposed from Tawang. There are 154 candidates, including nine women and three Independents, in the fray.
Sixty-three contestants are crorepatis and one has submitted an affidavit disclosing a wealth of Rs. 209 crore.
More Central forces deployed
Four helicopters deployed in Maharashtra to transport men and material.