Chhattisgarh 2018

Over 60% polling recorded in Chhattisgarh first phase

Long wait: Voters patiently queued up to cast their ballots at Narayanpur in Chhattisgarh on Monday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Chhattisgarh voters on Monday ignored the Maoist call to boycott the election and turned up in large numbers for the first phase of polling in 18 constituencies.

Chief Electoral Officer Subrat Sahoo said 60.49% polling was recorded in the partly extremist-dominated seats. While this was about 5% lower than the last Assembly election, the percentage may go up when the final figures come in, he said.

Polling peaceful

“Polling is continuing and the figure is expected to go up. It could end up around 70%,” Mr. Sahoo said around 7 p.m. Polling was peaceful and people voted in areas where they had almost never exercised their franchise earlier.

“Booths which used to poll five or 10 votes earlier have recorded higher polling,” Mr. Sahoo said.

“In Palamguda, deep inside the core Maoist areas in Sukma district, 44 persons voted for the first time. In Mulad and Nilabhaya in Dantewada, 10 and 19 persons voted respectively,” he said. In one of the Maoist-controlled areas in Chintagufa in Sukma district, polling was unusually high.

The high polling percentage, deep inside Maoist areas, however, was questioned by some of the local non-governmental observers. “It is surprising, we have to check the final figures,” one observer said.

“In some places, owing to the Maoist boycott call, polling was nil,” Mr. Sahoo said. Improvised Explosive Devices [IEDs] were recovered from Dantewada, Sukma and Bijapur earlier in the day. While no major incidents were reported, at least two constables were injured in IED blasts.

One of the residents of Perpa village near Kirandul in Dantewada district said that “many villages have voted” in his area.

Cholnar, Tikanpal, Kallepal and Madri are some of the nearby villages where the people voted in large numbers, he said.

However in many of the adjacent villages in Dantewada — such as Madkamiras, Gumiapal, Hiroli, Samalwar, Purangal and another half a dozen villages — the turnout was very low or nil.

While one village could vote, the other could not and that remained the trend of the day. In many areas in Kanker district voters did not come out to vote, the local residents said.

“Overall it was peaceful. Some of the extreme interior areas could not vote, while many villages came out to vote,” said K. Saji, Dantewada district secretary of the CPI.

One per cent of EVM machines and 1.9% of VVPATs were replaced which is “much lower” than earlier years, an EC official added.

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Printable version | Jul 18, 2021 8:06:55 PM |

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