60% polling despite violence in Naxal belt
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60% polling despite violence in Naxal belt

About 60% voters exercised their franchise in maiden polls to 90-member assembly marred by Naxalite violence that left one injured. Many EVMs were looted by PWG.

india Updated: Dec 01, 2003 23:48 IST

About 60 per cent voters exercised their franchise in the maiden elections to the 90-member Chhattisgarh Assembly in an exercise that passed off by and large peacefully barring stray violence in Naxalite-dominated areas of the state.

Re-polling has been ordered in 35 booths in four Naxal-infested constituencies after PWG looted EVMs at 12 booths and authorities failed to replace a faulty one in one, Chief Electoral Officer KK Chakravarthy told PTI in Raipur.

One person was injured in Sarguja district when ultras opened fire on voters, police said.

Quoting initial reports received from all 16 districts of the newly carved state, he said, about 60 per cent polling had been recorded in the state.

Re-poll would be held in 35 booths--26 in Dantewada, four in Kanker, three in Bastar and two in Rajnandgaon--on Wednesday, Chakravarthy said.

He said it was a peaceful poll barring stray incidents of violence in the Naxalite-infested areas.

Chakravarthy said Naxal-infested Kanker district has registered 45 per cent polling, Dantewada 40 per cent and Bastar 55 per cent.

Both Bilaspur district as well as Chief Minister Ajit Jogi's Marwahi constituency registered 62 per cent polling whereas Kawardha, Rajnandgaon and Raigarh recorded 65 per cent.

The polling percentage in other districts is Dhamtari (60), Mahasamund (55), Durg (62), Sarguja (55), Janjgir (55), Raipur (60), Korba and Korea 55 each and Jaspur 53, he added.

Voter turnout was more in urban areas compared to rural parts of the state, the sources said. In Raipur city and adjacent areas, over 50 per cent polling was recorded by 2 pm.

The helicopter carrying polling parties to eight places in Dantewada district could not take off in the morning due to bad weather. However, after the weather improved later, the chopper ferried them to the booths, where polling was held smoothly, the sources said.

Ultras looted EVMs in Puladi, Halur, Peda-Korma, Lingagiri, Bhusapur, Dunga, Pidiakota and Takiload booths of Bijapur constituency prompting the Bijapur presiding officer suggesting for fresh poll in the areas, they said. The situation is "very tense" in Bijapur constituency where Naxalites triggered land mine blasts and indulged in violence, the poll official has reported to the EC.

First Published: Dec 01, 2003 19:02 IST