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Chhattisgarh polls: Naxal violence mars voting; two CRPF commandos injured

A thick security blanket, comprising over 1.25 lakh police and paramilitary personnel, was thrown across the 18 constituencies as they fall under the Maoist-hit areas of Bastar, Kanker, Sukma, Bijapur, Dantewada, Narayanpur, Kondagaon and Rajnandgaon districts. Photograph:( ANI )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Nov 12, 2018, 01.37 PM (IST)

Two jawans of Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) were injured on Monday in an encounter that broke out between security forces and Naxals in Bijapur's Pamed area.

Eighteen out of 90 Assembly constituencies, including 12 ‘red zone’ seats, are up for polls in the first phase today.

The remaining 72 seats of Chhattisgarh assembly will go to vote on November 20 as part of a multi-phased voting across five states that also include neighbouring Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Mizoram.

Polling in 18 assembly constituencies in the first phase of the Chhattisgarh elections began on a slow note with about 25.15 per cent of the electorate casting their votes in the first few hours, a poll official said.

Earlier in the morning, an improvised explosive device (IED) was detonated in Dantewada district by Maoists, who had called for a boycott of the polls, the police said.

Meanwhile, a thick security blanket, comprising over 1.25 lakh police and paramilitary personnel, was thrown across the 18 constituencies as they fall under the Maoist-hit areas of Bastar, Kanker, Sukma, Bijapur, Dantewada, Narayanpur, Kondagaon and Rajnandgaon districts.

Sukma's Superintendent of Police Abhishek Meena said voters from interiors areas in the district were coming out to exercise their right to vote, defying the Maoists to call for the election boycott.

In 'Bhejji 2' and Gorkha polling booths, zero voting was recorded in the 2013 polls, but this time 11 and 20 voters respectively had voted in the initial hours, he said.

In 'Bhejji 1' polling station, where last time only one vote was cast, 72 people had voted so far this time, the officer said.

In the first phase, 190 candidates were in the fray and as many as 4,336 polling booths had been set up and 19,079 polling personnel were deployed there.

(With inputs from agencies)