Chh'garh polls: No voter turnout in 42 polling booths in Sukma

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Chh'garh: No voter turnout in 42 booths
Raipur, Nov 11: Chief Minister Raman Singh and his three ministers are among the candidates whose fate is going to be locked on Monday when 18 Assembly constituencies in the worst Naxal-hit regions of Bastar and Rajnandgaon go to polls amid heavy security in the first phase in Chhattisgarh.

[See Chhattisgarh assembly elections 2013]

No voter turnout was reported in 42 polling booths in Sukhma as late as 11 am.

Congress-BJP clash: Congress members lash back, say Santosh Bafna and other BJP workers beat them up with sticks and threatened to kill them if they did not end their 'neta-giri'.

Polling began in Bastar as huge number of people reach polling booths.

143 candidates are contesting from 12 constituencies in Bastar division and six constituencies of Rajnandgaon district with an electorate of 29,33,200 in the first of the two-phase polls to the 90-member assembly in the state where BJP government led by Singh is trying for a hat trick against the Congress.

Of the 18 seats, BJP had won 15 while Congress had three in the last election.

Barely six months ago, Naxals had ambushed a convoy of Congress leaders in Bastar, killing 27 people and virtually wiping out the entire party leadership, including state Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel, his son Dinesh, tribal leader Mahendra Karma who had founded the Salwa Judum and former legislator Uday Mudliyar. Senior leader Vidya Charan Shukla, 84, succumbed to his injuries two weeks later.

Police personnel are keeping a hawk eye in the state and along its borders with Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

"A large number of security force personnel have been deployed across the state. I am very confident of peaceful elections in the state," Chhattisgarh's Director General of Police (DGP) Ram Niwas said.

He said the police have done micro-level planning to ensure violence-free elections.

"We have been getting support from people also who are giving us crucial information related to security arrangements. They have also helped in detection of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) from some of the areas," said the DGP.

At least 85,000 personnel of central paramilitary forces have been deployed on poll duty in the state.

Chief Minister Raman Singh is contesting from Rajnandgaon constituency. His main rival is Congress' Alka Mudliyar, wife of slain Congress leader Uday Mudliyar.

Raman Singh had defeated Uday Mudliyar with the margin of 32,389 votes. Devati Karma, wife of Mahendra Karma, has been fielded from Dantewada-ST seat.


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