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Chhattisgarh records 70.31% turnout as polling concludes in three Naxal-affected seats in phase 2 of Lok Sabha polls

An impressive 70.31 percent voters exercised their franchise in three Lok Sabha constituencies having Naxal presence, during second phase of Lok Sabha election in Chhattisgarh on Thursday.

Voting began in Kanker, Rajnandgaon and Mahasamund constituencies at 7 am. An official told PTI that 68.70 cent voting was recorded till 5 pm.

Barring an improvised explosive device (IED) blast triggered by Naxals in Mohla-Manpur Assembly segment of Rajnandgaon constituency, no untoward incident was reported.

 Chhattisgarh records 70.31% turnout as polling concludes in three Naxal-affected seats in phase 2 of Lok Sabha polls

Representational image. Reuters

A massive security blanket of around 60,000 personnel was thrown around the three constituencies, they said, adding that drones were also used for surveillance.

Of the eight Assembly segments in Kanker constituency, polling ended at 3 pm in Antagarh, Keshkal, Bhanupratappur and Kanker in view of Naxal threat. In Sihawa, Sanjari-Balod, Daundilohara and Gunderdehi Assembly segments the polling ended at 5 pm.

In Rajnandgaon, polling ended at 3 pm in Manpur-Mohla Assembly segment. In other seven segments in the constituency, it ended at 5 pm.

In Mahasamund, polling ended at 5 pm, except in six booths designated as "hypersensitive" — Odh, Kamabhaundi, Amammora, Badegobra, Sahbinkachhar and Kodomali — where the voting ended at 3 pm, the official told PTI.

As many as 36 candidates are in the fray in three seats, though the main fight is between the Congress and BJP.

The BJP has fielded Santosh Pandey, general secretary of the party's state unit, in the high-profile Rajnandgaon
seat, denying ticket to sitting MP Abhishek Singh, son of former chief minister Raman Singh.

Pandey is pitted against Congress' Bholaram Sahu, a former MLA.

In Kanker, the BJP denied ticket to sitting MP Vikram Usendi, president of its state unit, and fielded a fresh face, Mohan Mandavi. The Congress has pinned its hopes on Biresh Thakur, also a greenhorn.

In Mahasamund, the BJP chose former MLA Chunnilal Sahu over two-time MP Chandulal Sahu against Congress MLA Dhanendra Sahu.

While the Naxal-affected Bastar constituency in the state went to the polls in the first phase, seven more constituencies in the state will see polling in the third and final phase on 23 April.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Apr 18, 2019 21:40:34 IST