It is for the first time since its formation, that Chhattisgarh will not witness any contest between the BJP and the Congress in the assembly poll, since the Congress candidate surprisingly withdrew from the contest at the last moment, ensuring almost a victory to the ruling BJP's nominee.
Around 10,000 security personnel have been deployed in the region to ensure fair and peaceful polling, a senior election official told PTI. As many as 1,51,894 voters will exercise their franchise at 202 polling stations, including 190 hyper-sensitive and three auxiliary booths, he said.
All the polling parties have safely reached their destinations, he said. Polling will be held from 7 am to 3 pm, he said. Earlier this afternoon, a Border Security Force (BSF) soldier was injured in a blast triggered off by Maoists when security forces were escorting a polling party to the polling station in Bande police station limits.
Election for the seat was necessitated after BJP MLA Vikram Usendi resigned after he was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Kanker seat. After the declaration of the bypoll schedule, the Congress, which had been struggling after a humiliating defeat in both Assembly as well as Lok Sabha elections in the state, had declared Manturam Pawar as its candidate from the seat, anticipating a good show.
However, Pawar surprisingly pulled out from the contest a day before the last day of withdrawal of nominations on August 29 for the bypoll, after which he was expelled from the Congress.
Fourteen candidates had filed their nominations for the Antagarh bypoll and after scrutiny as well as withdrawal of nominations, only two candidates namely Bhojraj Naag of the BJP and Rupdhar Pudo of the Ambedkarite Party of India are in the fray, official sources said.