Chhattisgarh assembly polls: 71.93% voting recorded in second phase

Chhattisgarh elections Photograph:( Reuters )

PTI Raipur, Chhattisgarh, India Nov 21, 2018, 09.42 AM (IST)

Chhattisgarh recorded 71.93 per cent voter turnout in the second and final phase of the Assembly elections, state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Subrat Sahoo said Tuesday evening.

He added that the final turnout percentage may rise.

"An average turnout of 71.93 per cent was recorded in 72 constituencies till 6 pm. The polling was completely peaceful and incident-free. The polling time ended at 5 pm but those voters who were still in line were given tokens and allowed to vote," Sahoo said at a press conference after the polling here Tuesday evening.

During polling, 114 ballot units, 89 control units and 359 VVPATs of EVMs were replaced due to technical snag, he said.

Naxal-affected Assembly constituencies in Kabirdham, Gariaband, Mahasamund, Balod and Balrampur districts witnessed peaceful polling, Sahoo said.

Polling personnel for two polling booths each in Gariaband and Balrampur districts were airlifted to their destinations on helicopters, he said.

The time of polling was from 8 am to 5 pm, but in two polling booths - Amamora (booth no 72) and Modh (no 76) in Bindranavgarh constituency (Gariaband district) - voting was held from 7 am to 3 pm due to Naxal threats, the official said.

"In Amamora and Modh booths, voter turnout was 82 per cent and 82.5 per cent respectively. It shows the faith of the people on democracy in hypersensitive areas," Sahoo said.

In Bindranavagarh constituency, villagers boycotted voting in one booth in Parevapali village after their demand for construction of a road under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna was not fulfilled, he said.

In two polling booths Bagrel in Janjgir Champa seat and Jamunapali booth in Korba district zero voting was reported, he said.

The voter turnout was around 64.8 per cent till 5 pm.

A total of 1,079 candidates, including 119 women, are contesting in 72 constituencies of the state with an electorate of 1,54,00,596.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has removed a presiding officer and a polling staff of different polling booths in Marwahi constituency of Bilaspur district, after receiving complaints against them.

Bilaspur Collector P Dayanand removed presiding officer of Semra polling booth Surendra Kumar Mandavi, and a polling staff of Dhanauli polling station Kamal Kishore Tiwari after getting complaints against them by concerned polling agents, a statement issued by poll officials said.

"An inquiry has been ordered against Mandavi and Tiwari and they have been ousted from the polling duty," it said.

Similarly, two Station House Officers (SHOs)- SS Sori (Gaurela police station) and Amit Patle (Pendra police station) in Bilaspur district were attached to police line for negligence in discharging their duties, Sahoo added.

Chief Minister Raman Singh, his wife Veena Singh and son Abhishek Singh, a BJP MP from Rajnandaon district, voted in the Kawardha constituency.

State ministers, including Brijmohan Agrawal, Rajesh Munat and Premparkash Pandey, besides State Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel and Leader of Opposition TS Singhdeo exercised their franchise in their respective areas.

Around 1.50 lakh security personnel have been deployed across the state to ensure peaceful polling, he said.

In the second phase of polling, extra vigil is being maintained in districts including Gariaband, Dhamtari, Mahasamund, Kabirdham, Jashpur and Balrampur, which are Naxal-affected areas, the official said.

Maximum number of 46 candidates are in Raipur City South constituency and the least number of six candidates are in Bindranavagarh seat. Of the 72 seats, 17 are reserved for Scheduled Tribes and nine for Scheduled Castes.

A total of 19,336 polling booths were set up for the second phase, of which 444 are sensitive booths.

The first phase of polls in 18 seats of eight Naxal-hit districts on November 12 had recorded over 76 per cent voter turnout.

The counting of votes will be held on December 11.

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