Chhattisgarh Elections: First phase records 70 percent voter turnout amid Maoist attacks

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70 percent of the electorate voted in the first phase of the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections Monday in 18 constituencies, amid looming threats by Maoists and allegations of EVM rigging. Chief Election Commissioner, O P Rawat lauded the enthusiasm of the voters.

He stated that attempts had been made to instill fear among people. “Polling was peaceful. In comparison to earlier elections, this elections have been singular achievement of the people working in the fields. Attempts were made to create fear among people but enthusiasm in voters was appreciable,” ANI quoted Rawat as saying.

The highest voter turnout was seen in Khujji at 65.5 per cent till 4.30 pm. Basat, known to be a Moaist hotbed, recorded 58 percent.  Dantewada recorded 58 per cent turnout, while other regions in the Naxal belt like Kondagaon, Keshkal, Kanker, Khairagarh and Dongargarh saw 61.47, 63.51, 62, 60.5, 64 per cent voter participation respectively.

ALSO READ: BBC journalist, expert on Maoists’ insurgency, slams India Today reporter for simulating armed forces’ operations in Chhattisgarh

Before the polls began, an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was detonated in Dantewada by Naxals, while police personnel also recovered two IEDs near a polling station in Bijapur and in Sukma district.

Moreover, five Naxals were killed and five personnel of Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) injured in two separate gunfights at Bijapur district’s Pamed area.

Before the commencement of elections, the state saw three attacks in the past fortnight,  resulting in the deaths of eight forces’ personnel and five civilians. A Doordarshan cameraperson was also killed in a Maoist attack in Dantewada on October 30.

(with inputs from agencies)

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