Nearly half of Bastar votes, two troopers injured
Nearly half of the electorate in Chhattisgarh's Bastar Lok Sabha constituency cast their ballots even as two troopers were injured in a gunbattle with Maoists while they were escorting a polling party.
Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Kujur said that Bastar recorded 47 percent voting.
The polling at Bastar saw Maoists open fire at seven places. Also, an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) went off in the interior, forested area.
In Sukma district, two Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers suffered gunshot wounds when Maoists attacked a polling party that was returning after the end of balloting.
Polling was delayed in at least 11 places as officials failed to reach there.
Officials failed to reach seven places in Sukma district and two places in Bijapur. In Jagdalpur district too, polling was delayed in two places as the poll authorities were not able to reach the polling centres.
There was a healthy turnout of voters in urban areas like Jagdalpur town.
However, there was comparatively much less enthusiasm in the interior, forested areas dominated by Maoists. Polling here was sluggish.
Bastar Lok Sabha constituency comprises six assembly segments. In five of the segments, polling was from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. while in the sixth polling took place from 7 a. m. to 4 p.m.
Over 1.29 million voters sealed the fate of eight candidates in the EVMs in a constituency where roughly 80 percent of the total 1,797 polling booths were declared "ultra sensitive". The remaining 10 seats will see polling April 17 and 24.
Bastar has more female voters at 665,290 than male voters at 633,681.
The main contest is between Bharatiya Janata Party nominee and sitting MP Dinesh Kashyap and Congress candidate Deepak Karma, son of the late Mahendra Karma, the founder of the controversial Salwa Judum civil militia movement.
Aam Aadmi Party's Soni Sori, a tribal woman from the district now on bail after facing charges of acting as a conduit for Maoists, is also in the fray.
(Posted on 10-04-2014)