Three policemen, one paramilitary person injured in blasts during voting in Chhattisgarh

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Raipur, Nov.14 : Four security personnel, including three policemen and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) soldier were injured in two separate blasts during the first phase of elections in Chhattisgarh on Friday.

The incidents took place in Maoist-infested Dantewada District. The policemen were injured in a landmine blast near Gorkha, as they were accompanying election officials to polling booths in Bhejji.

The second bomb explosion took place Chintalnar.

Naxalites also damaged two Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in Jagdalpur constituency and one in Dantewada, claimed the Inspector General of Police, Bastar region, A N Upadhyay.

Voter turnout was thin in the 39 Assembly constituencies that went to polls on Friday. Polling in ten of these 39 constituencies was held amid unprecedented security.

Nearly 25 per cent turnout was reported by mid-day, Deputy Chief Electoral officer Arvind Dixit was quoted by a national news agency, as saying.

Polling in 27 assembly constituencies began at about 8 a.m., while in the remaining twelve, it began an hour earlier.

The electoral fortunes of 379 candidates will be sealed on Friday. They include prominent leaders like Chief Minister Raman Singh from Rajnandgaon, Leader of Opposition Mahendra Karma (Dantewada), Assembly Speaker Premprakash Pandey (Bhilai), sitting Ministers Hemchand Yadav (Durg) and Lata Usendi (Kondagaon).

The remaining 51 seats in the 90-member House in eight districts will go to polls on November 20.

Nearly 32.08 lakh female electorates and 31,89,489 male voters are expected to exercise their right to vote at 8,879 polling booths during the first phase.

The CRPF which already has 14 battalions (14,000 personnel) in the state for anti-naxal operations, has sent additional 88 companies (about 9000 personnel) as directed by the Election Commission for the polls.

The Border Security Force has also been pressed into action in the state for the first time. They have deployed 70 companies (about 700 personnel) in the highly sensitive Dantewada, Bijapur and Jagdalpur districts.

ANI

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