Raipur, November 12: Polling is underway for the first phase of assembly elections in Chhattisgarh. Voting is taking place in 18 constituencies spread over 8 districts of the state. Elaborate security arrangements have been made to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections.
About one lakh security personnel including those from CRPF, BSF, ITBP and state police have been deployed. Indian Air Force and BSF choppers have also been pressed into service. A strict vigil is also being maintained along its border with Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
Polling in 10 Maoist affected constituencies started at 7 AM and will conclude at 3 PM. In the remaining constituencies, polling is being held between 8 AM and 5 PM.
Twelve out of these 18 assembly segments are reserved for the scheduled tribes, while one constituency is reserved for scheduled castes. As many as 190 candidates, including 14 women, are testing their electoral fortunes in the first phase.
More than 31 lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise. About four thousand three hundred polling stations have been set up in these 18 constituencies. Two hundred and 52 polling stations have the facility of webcasting, through which Election commission can monitor the activities in these centres. About 19 thousand employees have been deployed to conduct the polling process in the first phase of elections.
The remaining 72 constituencies in the state will go to polls on the 20th of this month.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged all the voters to vote in large numbers in the first phase of polling in Chhattisgarh. In a tweet, Mr Modi urged them to participate in the festival of the Democracy with full enthusiasm.