41 per cent polling in Chhattisgarh

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Raipur, Nov 14 (UNI) Over 41 per cent of the total 6.4 million electorate have voted till 1300 hours in 39 Assembly constituencies in the first phase of Chhattisgarh Assembly elections today.

Reports of several violent incidents by the Maoists were received from the Bastar division where the polling was also said to very low compared to other parts of the state.

Election office sources here said polling had to be postponed after naxals looted EVMs at Regagari, Totar and Aagnar polling booths in Narayanpur district at around 1145 hours.

A report of kidnapping of a police team in the Dandewada district was also received but it had not been confirmed by the officials yet.

Naxals triggered an improvised explosive device in Gorkha village of Bhejji police station in Jagdalpur district injuring three security forces seriously and helicopter were requisitioned to evacuate them.

In Bhusarat area a four kg land mine was recovered near a booth and seven people have been arrested in that connection.

Paramilitary forces and Maoists are locked in fierce gun battles in Nichwar and Kamaram areas of Dantewada district, were also reported. Maoists also opened indiscriminate firing disrupting in Kudur and Hangwa booths of the Dantewada district.

Reports are also about gun battle between Maoists and security forces in Bastar region of Chhattisgarh.

Rajnandgaon, the home district of Chief Minister Raman Singh, recorded over 48 per cent of polling. Dr Singh is also contesting for the Rajnandgaon seat.

Speaker and BJP candidate Premprakash Pandey cast his vote in Bhilai assembly constituency and AICC treasurer Motilal Vora exercised his franchise in Durg.

According to ECI, polling was about 29 per cent in Durg district in the first five hours. Polling per cent in Dhamatri was 35, Mahasamund 40 and Kabirdham 41.

In the Maoist-infested north Bastar region, Narayanpur registered 50 per cent polling, Dantewada 47 per cent and Bastar 51 per cent.

Bijapur has recorded the lowest poll percentage of 10.78 till 1300 hrs which shows that there was a huge impact of Maoist threat in the district.

(Eds: Pick up suitably from earlier series) UNI MB PS 1453

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