Bypoll in Dantewada ends peacefully, 60% polling recorded
Around 60% polling was recorded in Maoist-affected Dantewada assembly by-poll of Chhattisgarh on Monday.
In the 2018 assembly election, the constituency had recorded a voter turnout of 60.67 per cent while it was 62.03 per cent in 2013 assembly election.
“The final percentage will be updated on Tuesday but till now around 60 percent polling has been recorded in Dantewada. Polling started at 7 am and went smoothly till the deadline at 3 pm,” said a poll official in Raipur adding that the final percentage could go up late in the evening.
No Maoist violence was reported during the by-poll apart from security forces recovering a 5kg IED (Improvised Explosive Device), planted by Maoist under Katekalyan police station area.
“The by-poll was concluded without a single Maoist violence incident which is a success for security forces and officers posted in the area. The peaceful poll happened also because of coordination of police forces of other neigbouring states,” said DM Awasthi, Director General of Police, Chhattisgarh. Around 30,000 police personnel had been deployed for peaceful election in Dantewada.
On the other hand, a total of 1,302 poll personnel were deputed in polling teams in Dantewada by-polls. A teacher, Chandraprakash Thakur (33), who was on polling duty at Chikpal booth (no.175) died after complaining of uneasiness in the morning before voting began. Police claimed that it seemed that Thakur died of a heart attack.
There are a total of 1, 88,263 voters including 89,747 male and 98,876 female and 273 polling stations for the by-election.
The by -election was necessitated following the killing of BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi on April 9, just two days before the parliamentary elections in Bastar. Mandavi defeated Congress candidate Devati Karma in 2018 assembly elections by a thin margin of 2,172 votes.
The Congress again fielded Devati Karma while BJP had given a ticket to slain BJP leader’s wife Ojaswi Mandavi. A total of nine candidates are contesting the by-elections.
The BJP managed to get only one seat, Dantewada, in Bastar region in 2018 elections, which comprises 12 assembly seats.
In the campaigning for the by poll, the central leadership of both the Congress and BJP stayed away and the main faces of campaign were Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and former CM Raman Singh.
On the one hand, the Congress campaign was mainly concentrated on pro-farmers and pro-tribal policies that the government started in the last nine months while the BJP accused Congress of vendetta politics and the main issue for them was development done in Raman Singh’s 15-year rule.