New Delhi :
The first phase of Chhattisgarh Assembly elections will see voting in 18 seats spread across eight Naxal-affected districts on November 12. As many as 190 candidates, including Chief Minister Raman Singh, will be in the fray in the first round of voting. Total 31,80,014 people are eligible to exercise their franchise Monday's elections. Of the total, 16,22,492 are women, while 15,57,435 are men.
The voting for the first phase of elections will be held on Dantewada, Bijapur, Konta, Khairagarh, Dongargarh, Rajnandgaon, Dongargaon, Khujji, Mohla-Manpur, Antagarh, Bhanupratappur, Kanker, Kondagaon, Narayanpur, Bastar, Jagdalpur, Keshkal and Chitrakot Assembly seats.
A day before the voting, massive security arrangements have been put in place amid ‘threat’ of from Naxals. Authorities have deployed around one lakh security personnel, including central paramilitary force, to ensure peaceful elections across the eight districts, which are prone to Naxal attacks.
The Naxals have given a call for boycott of the elections. In less than two weeks, they have carried out dozens of attacks including three major assaults in which eight security personnel and 5 civilians lost their lives.
Chhattisgarh's Special Director General (Anti-Naxal Operations) DM Awasthi said that they have recovered over 300 IED bombs from Bastar and Rajnandgaon districts in the last 10 days. Awasthi assured that they have taken all the necessary measures to foil any bid to disrupt the elections by Maoists.
“A total of 650 companies, including those from paramilitary units like CRPF, BSF, ITBP and around 65,000 personnel from police forces of other states, have been sent by the Centre for the assembly polls,” PTI quoted him as saying.
Awasthi further said that besides this, existing paramilitary personnel and 200 companies of state forces were engaged in anti-Naxal operations in Chhattisgarh. Indian Air Force and BSF choppers were also being used to airlift polling booth parties to remote areas.
"As of now, the challenge is to escort all the polling parties safely to their destination in Naxal-affected areas and later it will be to conduct polls and bring back them safely," the Special DG added.