Around 50 pc polling in Chhattisgarh until 1400 hrs

Raipur, Nov 7 (UNI) A CRPF officer was injured in an IED blast in Chhattisgarh where an estimated 50 percent turnout was recorded till 1400 hours on Tuesday in the maiden phase of Assembly poll covering 20 constituencies, including 10 in areas severely hit by Left-wing extremism.

Polling is being conducted under a thick security blanket in the sensitive state, which has a 90-member Assembly.

Official sources gave the constituency-wise voting figure for Bastar at approximately 45 percent, Bijapur 22, Mohla-Manpur 56, Rajnandgaon 41, Sukma 32, Kanker 63, Kabirdham 44, Kondagaon 56, Khairagarh 47, Dantewada 44 and Narayanpur 48 percent respectively.

The CRPF officer was injured when the IED exploded within the restive Sukma district of Bastar division.

Confirming the incident, Superintendent of Police Kiran Chauhan said, “A detachment of the Force’s 206th Commando Battalion for Resolute Action had left Camp Tondamarka and was heading for Elmagunda village to execute an area domination exercise.

Inspector Shrikant stepped on the landmine. He has been hospitalised.”

The Naxals have issued a poll boycott call.

The timings for exercise of franchise are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Mohla-Manpur, Antagarh, Bhanupratappur, Kanker, Keshkal, Kondagaon, Narayanpur, Dantewada, Bijapur and Konta; whereas it is 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in Pandariya, Kawardha, Khairagarh, Dongargarh, Rajnandgaon, Dongargaon, Khujji, Bastar, Jagdalpur and Chitrakote.

Of the total 5,304 polling centres, webcasting facilities are available at 2,431 centres.

The fortunes of 223 candidates, including 25 females, are being sealed in EVMs by members of a 40,78,681-strong electorate that includes 20,84,675 women.

The ruling Congress and principal opposition BJP are in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation in all 20 constituencies, 19 of which are held by the Congress.

The votes will be counted on December 3.

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