55 per cent voter turnout in Chhattisgarh: EC

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New Delhi, Nov 14 (UNI) An estimated 55 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the first phase of polls covering 39 seats across ten districts in Chhattisgarh, the Election Commission said today.

Briefing newspersons, Deputy Election Commissioner J P Prakash said the polling percentage could vary when the final picture emerged by late evening.

At least 20 cases of violence were reported including snatching of Electronic Voting Machines and damage to the EVMs. A CRPF Radio Operator was killed in the Dantewada district.

In the same district, two Special Police Officer (SPOs) and a Jawan were injured due to a pressure bomb blast but were reportedly out of danger.

People boycotted the polls in Kabirdham in protest against the ''lack of developmental work ''in their area, he said.

In all 379 candidates, including 42 women, were in the electoral fray.

With the object of covering inaccessible regions, the Ec deployed as many as eight helicopters during the elections.

A total of 335 companies of the Central Para Military forces along with 100 companies of thje State police were pressed into service to ensure free and fair polls.

The EC deployed a total of 1059 Micro Observers and another 358 general observers to oversee the electons.

To facilitate the voters, the Commission had set up 8879 polling stations in the first phase of elections, he added.

Mr Prakash said repolls if any would be announced tomorrow based on the reports of the Returning Officer (RO).

UNI BKS RR NS2002

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