Chhattisgarh polls: 15 per cent voter turnout in initial hours
No untoward incident has been reported so far from any part of the state. "The polling in 72 constituencies of 19 districts began from 8 AM and so far 15 per cent turnout has been recorded," an official at the Chief Electoral Office told PTI.
Meanwhile, EVMs were changed at around 10 polling stations due to some technical problems, he said. State Governor Shekhar Dutt exercised his franchise in Raipur city north seat where BJP's Srichand Sundarani and Congress's sitting MLA Kuldeep Singh Juneja are locked in a close contest.
A total of 843 candidates are contesting in the last of the two-phase polls to the 90-member Assembly in the state, where BJP government led by Chief Minister Raman Singh is eyeing for a hat-trick against the Congress.
Over one lakh security force personnel have been deployed across the state to ensure peaceful polling, the official said. Polling is underway in central and north Chhattisgarh, where 72 each from the BJP and Congress, are contesting .
The fate of state Assembly speaker Dharamlal Kaushik (Bilha) and nine ministers -- Home Minister Nanki Ram Kanwar (Rampur); School Education Minister Brijmohan Agrawal (Raipur city south); Housing and Environment Minister Rajesh Munat (Raipur city west); Health Minister Amar Agrawal (Bilaspur); Water Resources Minister Ramvichar Netam (Ramanujganj); Panchayat and Rural Development Minister Hemchand Yadav (Durg city); Agriculture Minister Chandrashekhar Sahu (Abhanpur); Punnulal Mohile (Mungeli) and Revenue and Rehabilitation minister Dayaldas Baghel (Nawagarh)--will be sealed today.
Also, President of BJP Ramsewak Paikra (Pratappur) besides the Leader of Opposition Ravindra Choubey (Saja), wife of the former chief minister Ajit Jogi, Renu Jogi (Kota), son of late PCC chief Nandkumar Patel, Umesh Patel (Kharsiya) and Ajit Jogis son Amit (Marwahi) are in the fray in the second phase.
Security forces have been directed to stay alert in some districts of Sarguja and Raipur division located on inter-state border, where frequent movement of Naxals had been witnessed.
According to police, Naxals may create trouble in Mahasamund, Gariyaband and Dhamtari of Raipur division bordering Odisha and Jashpur, Raigarh and Ambikapur in north Chhattisgarh during the polling process.