Under the shadow of Maoist threat, the first phase of Chhattisgarh Elections in 18 assembly segments will take place on Monday, November 12, 2018. The constituencies which are going to polls on Monday, include Khairagarh, Dongargarh, Rajnandgaon, Dongargaon, Khujji, Mohla-Manpur, Antagarh, Bhanupratappur, Kanker, Keshkal, Kondagaon, Narayanpur, Bastar, Jagdalpur, Chitrakoot, Dantewada, Bijapur and Konta (ST). Of these 18 assembly seats, 12 are reserved for Scheduled Tribes (ST) while one is for Scheduled Caste (SC) category. As many as 4,336 polling booths have been set up for the first phase of polls in Chhattisgarh. There are 31,79,520 voters, including 16,21,839 males, 15,57,592 females and 89 of the third gender.
Voting for the first phase of Chhattisgarh assembly elections is scheduled to take place between 7 am to 3 pm in some areas and 8 am to 5 pm in others. Ten out of the 18 Maoist-affected constituencies will vote from 7 am to 3 pm on Monday.
In the view of Sunday's Naxal strike in Koyali Beda area of Kanker, as many as one lakh security personnel, including paramilitary forces, have been deployed across eight Naxal-dominated districts in Chhattisgarh. Ahead of polls, Maoist attacks have become more frequent in the state, with several common men including a BSF jawan lost their lives Sunday. Furthermore, Maoists have also asked netizens to boycott the Chhattisgarh assembly elections. Therefore, security has been beefed up in highly sensitive regions with over 12 helicopters in use to reach polling booths in the poll-bound state. In over two dozen booths, people will be ferried via bikes, boats or on foot to avoid any untoward incident in the state.
Meanwhile, in a dramatic turn of event, Chhattisgarh Congress vice president Ghanaram Sahu has resigned from the membership of the Rahul Gandhi-led party on the eve of elections. In October, tribal leader and Congress state working president Ramdayal Uike also resigned from the party and joined the BJP. However, it is not yet clear whether Sahu will be inducted into the ruling BJP or not.
The second phase of the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections for the remaining 72 constituencies will be held on November 20 and the counting of votes will be taken up on December 11, 2018. While Chief Minister Raman Singh will be eyeing a fourth straight term in his stronghold Chhattisgarh the Congress is seeking to return to power after 15 long years.