A voter turnout of 71.93 per cent was recorded in the second and the final phase of Chhattisgarh assembly elections, said the Election Commission on Tuesday. The total average turnout in the state has been 74.17 per cent at present with poll officials estimating that the final numbers to be little higher than this figure. In 2013, the total voting percentage was 77.12 percent.
The polling in the second phase was held in 72 constituencies of 90-seat assembly, in which 1,079 candidates, including 119 women contested with an electorate of 1,54,00,596.
Polling was held from 8 am to 5 pm. However, voting took place from 7 am to 3 pm in two polling booths –Amamora (booth no 72) and Modh (no 76) in Bindranavgarh constituency (Gariaband district)– due to Naxal threats. Follow LIVE UPDATES HERE
Meanwhile, technical snags in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) at some booths also delayed the polling. During the day, the poll watchdog removed a presiding officer and a polling staff from the polling booths in Marwahi constituency of Bilaspur district, after receiving complaints against them. “An inquiry has been ordered against Mandavi and Tiwari and they have been ousted from the polling duty,” a statement issued by poll officials said. Raj of the Royals (Part I): In Chhattisgarh, palaces still house power
Over 1.50 lakh security personnel were deployed across the state to maintain a constant security vigil, and a special watch was kept in the Naxal affected areas of Gariaband, Dhamtari, Mahasamund, Kabirdham, Jashpur and Balrampur. A total of 19,336 polling booths were set up for the second phase, of which 444 were declared sensitive booths. Polling in the first phase of elections in the state was held over 18 seats of eight Naxal-hit districts on November 12, which recorded over 76 per cent voter turnout.
The electoral season in the state saw an intense campaign from the two main political parties the BJP and the Congress with their senior leaders reaching out to voters through series of rallies and road shows including PM Narendra Modi and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.
The ruling BJP holds 43 of the 72 seats, with the party sweeping several areas in the Chhattisgarh plains in the 2013 elections. Meanwhile, the Congress is confident of consolidating its position and overturning deficits in the plains with farmer anger against the BJP.
There is a third element for the first time in a bipolar state, after the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), former chief minister Ajit Jogi’s Janata Congress Chhattisgarh and the Communist Party of India (CPI) joining hands to contest the polls.
The counting of votes will take place on December 11 along with four other states.