An estimated 65% voters in Chhattisgarh cast their votes on Thursday amid Maoist threats in three Lok Sabha constituencies — Mahasamund, Rajnandgaon and Kanker — in the second round of Lok Sabha elections in the state. Around 58% people had cast their ballot in the three seats in the 2009 general elections.
The polling remained largely peaceful barring a few incidents of firing in the interiors of Maoist-hit Rajnandgaon and three low-intensity blasts in Kanker in the jungle areas in a bid to scare away the electorates.
According to Election Commission officials, around 65% of the 45.56 lakh voters exercised their franchise at 6,114 booths across the three constituencies to decide the fate of 51 candidates. The voting percentage is likely to rise further, the officials stated. In 2009, all the three seats were won by the BJP.
Around 153 companies of security forces were deployed along with more than 20,000 local police officers to ensure free and fair voting.
The polling came to an end at 3pm in the Maoist-affected regions of Antagarh, Bhanupratapur, Kanker and Keshkal in Kanker constituency, Bindranawagarh in Mahasamund and Mohla-Manpur of Rajnandgaon seat. Polling in the remaining areas of the three constituencies continued till 6 pm.
Re-polling was held at Polampalli in Barsur of Bastar constituency where voting could not be held on April 10 owing to some technical snag in the electronic voting machine.
The polling sealed the fate of former chief minister Ajit Jogi, contesting from Mahasamund, and debutant Abhishek Singh, son of chief minister Raman Singh.
The first phase of polling in the Bastar seat on April 10 had seen a 58% voter turnout. Polling for the seven seats that remain will be held on April 24.