62 pc turnout in Chhattisgarh byelection

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Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh, Feb 4 (UNI) An estimated 62 per cent of 1.47 lakh voters exercised their franchise today in the assembly byelection for the Keshkal (ST) seat in naxalism-affected tribal Bastar district.

Polling took place amid tight security, including single-helicopter surveillance, in view of the possibility of Maoist attacks. Twenty-seven companies of security personnel were deployed.

A police-rebel encounter occurred at Jugnar. No casualty was reported. A bomb and a landmine were seized from the spot.

The main contest is between Mr Buddhasan Markam (Congress) and Mr Sevak Ram Netam (Bharatiya Janata Party). Three independents are also in the fray.

The byelection was necessitated following the death of BJP MLA Mahesh Baghel, who was also a parliamentary secretary in the Raman Singh government, in a road mishap about four months back.

Police told UNI that a close vigil was being maintained in the constituency during transport of electronic voting machines as ultras always tried to target security personnel returning from poll duty.

Counting is scheduled at this divisional headquarters on February 7.

UNI XC-JJ AC 1854

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