As the second phase of polling in Chhattisgarh saw a healthy turnout of 74.65 per cent,Raipur South,the constituency of PWD Minister Brijmohan Agarwal gathered another controversy.
Earlier it was the 24 Muslim Independent candidates contesting from the seat and rail tickets for Ajmer for Muslim voters,apparently to cut into Congress votes,today Agarwal alleged that as many as 20000 Upper caste Hindu voters were denied voting as their names were not in the voter list.
According to Agarwal,these were his voters,had the voter card issued by the Election Commission but when they reached booths,their names were missing. He alleged that the commission has been managed and demanded the removal of the EC observer for the seat.
The EC in connivance with the Congress has deliberately removed the names from the booths where I had gained in 2008, he told The Indian Express.
However,he did not demand either the re-poll in the entire constituency or even at these booths. Only those persons,whose names were deleted,should be allowed to re-cast their votes, he said.
He claimed to have the details some 7000 of these voters,and added that a comprehensive list is being prepared.
We are examining the complaint,but unless it is authenticated nothing can be said at this juncture, Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Kujur said.
Meanwhile,residents of Kamreed and Bavnipali villages of Sarangarh constituency have boycotted the election saying the government has neglected the village and did not undertake any development project. Kujur noted that not a single vote was cast here through the day.
In Raipur,the collector has ordered the registration of an FIR against BJP minister Rajesh Moonat and Raipur North candidate for allegedly threatening an EC observer Subodh Yadav. The altercation took place when the observer was monitoring a poll booth.
The polls saw also some violence as a man was killed and two others injured in CRPF firing at a booth of Saja constituency. Voters had a scuffle with CRPF. A jawan accidently fired leading to the death of a person, Kujur added. In another incident,a presiding officer was arrested in Bhatgaon constituency of Surajpur district after he was found drunk on duty.
The polling was otherwise peaceful and substantial and the estimated figure of 74.65 per cent marked an increase of over 3 per cent against the 71.09 per cent polling in 2008. Reports suggested that the turnout was largely due to buoyant youths and women who thronged the booths across the state.
While Dhamtari (84.33) and Balod (84) districts recorded the highest turnout,Durg registered the least with 67.83 per cent. The vote for 72 seats and 843 candidates in 19 districts is crucial for the BJP government as the lead here will ensure Chief Minister Raman Singhs hat-trick.