Chhattisgarh bypoll: 40 per cent voter turnout till 1 pmhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/politics/chhattisgarh-polling-begins-for-bypoll-in-insurgency-hit-antagarh/

Chhattisgarh bypoll: 40 per cent voter turnout till 1 pm

Voting began in the insurgency-hit Antagarh assembly constituency for the bypoll.

About 40 per cent electorate on Saturday cast their franchise till 1 PM in insurgency-hit Antagarh assembly seat of Chhattisgarh, where a gun-battle took place between ultras and security personnel in Amabeda forests.

Voting for Antagarh bypoll began from 7 AM and around 40 per cent turnout was recorded till 1 PM, Joint Chief Electoral
Officer DD Singh informed.

As many as 202 polling stations, including 190 hyper sensitive and three auxiliary booths, have been set up for the
bypoll where as many as 1,51, 894 electorates will exercise their franchise till 3 PM, Singh said.

Around 10,000 security personnel have been deployed in the region to ensure fair and peaceful polling, he added.

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Meanwhile, an encounter took place in Edenga village forests under Amabeda police station limits after naxal triggered an IED blast to harm a squad of STF (special task force) conducting a cordon in the region.

When security personnel reached the forests, rebels triggered a blast and opened fire.

However, when jawans retaliated, they fled into core forests, Kanker Superintendent of Police RN Dash said.

No injuries or causalities were reported in the incident, Dash added.

For Antagarh bypoll, 14 candidates had filed their nominations and after scrutiny and withdrawal, only two of them– Bhojraj Naag from BJP and Rupdhar Pudo of Ambedkarite Party of India– were left in the fray.

The bypoll was necessitated after BJP legislator Vikram Usendi resigned following his election to the Lok Sabha from
Kanker seat.

After declaration of the bypoll schedule, the Congress, which had been struggling after a humiliating defeat in both
Assembly as well as Lok Sabha elections in the state, had declared Manturam Pawar as its candidate from the seat, anticipating a good show.

However, Pawar surprisingly pulled out from the contest a day before the last day of withdrawal of nominations on August
29 for the bypoll, after which he was expelled from Congress.