A 71.93 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the second phase of the Chattisgarh elections on Tuesday, according to the Election Commission. The total average turnout in the state has been 74.17 per cent at present.
Poll officials have estimated the final numbers to be little higher. In 2013, the total voting percentage was 77.12 percent.
The polling in the second phase was held in 72 constituencies of 90-seat assembly, in which 1,079 candidates, including 119 women contested with an electorate of 1,54,00,596.
Polling was held from 8 am to 5 pm, but was held from 7 am to 3 pm in two polling booths –Amamora (booth no 72) and Modh (no 76) in Bindranavgarh constituency (Gariaband district)– owing to Naxal threats.
Over 1.50 lakh security personnel were deployed across the state to maintain a constant security vigil, and a special watch was kept in the Naxal affected areas of Gariaband, Dhamtari, Mahasamund, Kabirdham, Jashpur and Balrampur. A total of 19,336 polling booths were set up for the second phase, of which 444 were declared sensitive booths. Polling in the first phase of elections in the state was held over 18 seats of eight Naxal-hit districts on November 12, which recorded over 76 per cent voter turnout.
Meanwhile, the Opposition protested in front of the EC office in Raipur, claiming that the BJP government was using underhand methods to win a losing battle, alleging that a fake letter has been circulated on a Congress letterhead adding conditions to the promises made to farmers, that alcohol and money was being distributed, and that leaders of the BJP continued to stay in Chhattisgarh even 48 hours before polling.
On the question of the fake letter, the EC said that a case had been registered. It said while all central leaders had been asked to leave, the state in-charge of a party has to inform the EC but can stay there.
The first phase of the elections had seen a 70 percent voter turnout amid an IED explosion and two gunfights which saw five Naxals killed.
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.