76 pct voter turn-out in Chhattisgarh polls; Naxal area Bastar records 84 pct
A voter turnout of 76.28 per cent was recorded in the first phase of elections in Chhattisgarh covering 18 assembly segments, a poll official said Tuesday.
The impressive turnout shows that Naxals threats seem to have had little impact in the first phase of polling in eight Maoist-hit districts, the official said. "Chhattisgarh recorded 76.28 per cent polling in the first phase of elections held Monday," state Chief Electoral Officer Subrat Sahoo said in a press conference here.
The highest polling percentage was recorded in Dongargaon (85.15), followed by Khujji (84.48), Khairagarh (84.31), Bastar (83.51), Kondagaon (82.84), Dongargarh (82.53), Keshkal (81.32), Chitrakot (80.31), Mohla-Manpur (80), Rajnandgaon (78.66), Kanker (78.54) Jagdalpur (78.24), Bhanupratappur (76.77), Antagarh (74.45), Narayanpur (74.40), Dantewada (60.62), Konta (55.30) and Bijapur47.35 per cent. "A good number of voters in remote areas exercised their franchise," Sahoo said.
The final polling percentage is much higher than the earlier estimates, which ranged from 60 to 70 per cent. The Election Commission, at a press conference in New Delhi Monday evening, had said 70 per cent turnout was recorded in phase one of Chhattisgarh polls.
However, Sahoo had told reporters at Raipur later Monday that 60.49 per cent turnout was recorded, adding the figure may go up. There were three encounters between security personnel and Naxals, and an IED blast Monday in the districts that went to the polls but the voting process, held under heavy security cover, was not affected.
In remote Naxal-affected areas, the polling received a good response from voters who appeared excited to exercise their franchise, Sahoo said.
Over 1.25 lakh police and paramilitary personnel were also deployed in the 18 constituencies falling under Naxal-hit areas of Bastar, Kanker, Sukma, Bijapur, Dantewada, Kondagaon, Narayanpur and Rajnandgaon districts.
The second phase of polling in 72 seats, out of the 90-member Assembly, would be held on November 20 and counting of votes would take place on December 11.
(With inputs from agencies.)