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Lok Sabha elections 2019: 60% step out in the heat of the (poll) moment

The tribal district of Gadchiroli where CPI (Maoists) had announced a poll boycott saw around 61% voting. The district authorities had fixed the timing for voting up to 3pm in view of the Maoist threat.

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 12, 2019 02:22 IST
Pradip Kumar Maitra
Pradip Kumar Maitra
Mumbai
lok sabha elections 2019,lok sabha elections,lok sabha
Lok Sabha elections 2019: 60% step out in the

Withstanding the scorching heat at 44°C, more than 60% voters from seven Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha came out to vote for the first phase of the polls on Thursday.

In the fray are stalwarts like Union minister for transport and shipping Nitin Gadkari (Nagpur), Union minister of state for Home Hansraj Ahir (Chandrapur), Nana Patole of Congress (Nagpur), retired IAS officer Kishore Gajbhiye of Congress (Ramtek), former Maharashtra minister and NCP nominee Nana Panchbudhe (Bhandara-Gondia) and former state Congress chief Manikrao Thakre (Yavatmal).

The tribal district of Gadchiroli where CPI (Maoists) had announced a poll boycott saw around 61% voting. The district authorities had fixed the timing for voting up to 3pm in view of the Maoist threat.

In 2014, the Maoist-hit constituency recorded more than 70% voting.

The Left-wing extremists attacked a polling party near Etapalli in south Gadchiroli, in which three jawans of C-60 (an anti-naxalite squad) were injured. On Wednesday, the CPI (Maoist) had triggered an IED blast near Gatta-Jambia in south Gadchiroli, in which two CRPF men of 191 Battalion were seriously injured.

Both the alliances expressed confidence that they would win. State Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) secretary Sanjay Phanje claimed the BJP-Sena combine would bag all seven Lok Sabha seats. “We only highlighted our achievements during campaigning,” he said, adding that almost all eligible farmers of the region have received the first instalment of ₹2,000 of the promised ₹6,000 dole and they were “happy” with the government. “All eligible farmers got the benefits of the loan waiver scheme and the poll outcome will reflect the Modi government’s pro-poor welfare measures,” he said.

Gadkari said he would win the elections by a huge margin “as he had undertaken a lot of development works in the area and people have tremendous faith in him”.

State Congress spokesman Atul Londhe said the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) combine have an edge in all constituencies. “We are sure to win in Chandrapur, Gadchiroli-Chimur, Ramtek, Yavatmal-Washim, Bhandara-Gondia and Wardha by a comfortable majority. The Congress has given a good fight in Nagpur and Nana Patole can live up to his reputation of being a ‘giant killer’. We are hopeful that Congress would win in Nagpur, even if by a thin margin,” he said. Londhe claimed there was an anti-Modi wave in the region and people — particularly the farmers, Dalits, Muslims and OBCs — were determined to topple the Modi government. “They may vote for a change this time,” he said.

First Published: Apr 12, 2019 02:22 IST

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