Raipur 11 Apr: Braving threat of Naxalites more than 57% voters turned up at polling booths to cast their votes in 1st phase of Lok Sabha elections in Chhattisgarh's remote Naxal-infested Bastar parliamentary seat on Thusday. Naxalites have failed in their nefarious bid to create atmosphere of terror after recent attack that led to killing of Dantewada MLA Bhima Mandavi and four security jawans. Long queue of voters was seen outside polling booths at Shyamgiri, the interior part of Dantewada. The Dantewada MLA and four security jawans were killed in explosion triggered by Naxalites at the village near Shyamgiri recently.
State Chief Electoral Officer Subrat Sahoo told reporters here that polling in Dantewada, Bijapur, Konta and Narayanpur assembly constituencies falling under Bastar parliamentary seat concluded at 3 pm while polling lasted till 5 pm at remaining four assembly constituencies-Kondagaon, Bastar, Jagdalpur and Chitrakot. Polling had begun at 7 am in all these places.
According to information gathered till 5 pm, about 57% voting was recorded in Bastar Lok Sabha seat. Kondagaon recorded 65% polling, Dantewada 67%, Narayanpur 50%, Bijapur 33%, Konta 30%, Jagdalpur 68%, Bastar 70.8% and Chitrakot 67%. However, Sahoo said that this polling percentage is not final. Complete figures would be available only on arrival of polling teams tomorrow morning, he said.
Sahoo said that maximum 96% polling was recorded at Pachkot polling centre of Jagdalpur assembly constituency. In an average polling went off peacefully, he said, adding that polling teams also started returning. Many polling teams were safely brought back from difficult terrains by helicopters. Sahoo said that priority was accorded to the task of safely bringing back the polling teams. To this end elaborate arrangements have been made, he said.
Sahoo said that 1879 polling centres were set up in this parliamentary constituency which covers five districts. Of these polling centres 224 are hyper sensitive while 512 are sensitive polling centres. Seven candidates are in fray on this seat. Ayatu Ram Mandavi of Bahujan Samaj Party, Deepak Baij of Congress, Baiduram Kashyap of Bharatiya Janata Party, Ramu Ram Mourya of Communist Party of India, Panish Prasad Nag of Ambedkarite Party of India, Manglaram Karma of Akhil Bharat Samagra Kranti Party and Suresh alias Sargim Kawasi of Shiv Sena are contesting elections on this seat. Bastar was the lone parliamentary constituency out of 11 in Chhattisgarh that went to polling in first phase of Lok Sabha elections today. (UNI)