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Brisk polling reported in Chhattisgarh

Thirty per cent of the electorate in Chhattisgarh exercised their franchise till noon on Monday.

india Updated: Dec 01, 2003 14:26 IST

Thirty per cent of the electorate in Chhattisgarh exercised their franchise till noon on Monday even as the balloting was marred with naxalites looting electronic voting machines and firing at security personnel in Naxal-infested areas of bastar division of the state.

Since voting could not begin at 13 polling stations of Bijapur assembly constituency due to looting of EVMs by naxals and election staff failing to reach some remote polling booths, a proposal has been sent to the Election Commission for fresh polls in these booths on Tuesday, Additional Chief Electoral Officer of Chhattisgarh B L Agrawal said.

New EVMs have been installed at Chirkanthi, Padeda and Pusbanka booths--from where naxalites had on Sunday looted the machines. Similarly, following complaints of faulty EVMs, new machines have been provided at Katora Talab in Raipur (city) and Chhuikhadan booth of Khairagarh segment, he said.

Earlier in the day prior to the commencement of the polling, EVMs from five polling booths in Bijapur assembly constitueny of Bastar division were forcibly taken away by members of the outlawed PWG, who has given a call for poll boycott, election office sources said.

The naxalites stormed into the polling booths and took away EVMs and other polling material, sources said.

The naxalites opened fire at the security personnel at Polati after they took away the EVMs, sources said.

Meanwhile, the polling staff could not reach at eight polling booths in Bijapur constituency, as the helicopters, meant to airlift them to remote areas, could not take off due to inclement weather on Monday morning, sources said.

First Published: Dec 01, 2003 14:26 IST