Dantewada/Raipur, Nov 13: Ignoring the threats of Maoists ultras the people of Bastar and Datewada – the most vulnerable districts of Chhattisgarh voted for development on Monday. The state witnessed the first phase of Assembly elections for 18 constituencies in the Maoist infested areas wherein over 70 percent of the voters exercised their franchise defying the Red Threat.
The Maoists had threatened to chop off the fingers of the voters if they voted in the elections. But the brave voters did not budge from their resolve and celebrated the elections as their right.
Long queues of voters were seen at almost every polling booth in the area. This response from the voters – young and old alike – indicated that the longing of the people of Bastar for development and showed that they are fed up with the gun culture of the Maoists.
The Maoists had called for a boycott of elections. Before the elections they had killed 14 people in different attacks in the Bastar region. On the voting day also they had tried to scuttle the democratic process but the security personnel successfully forced them to withdraw and foiled their attempt of sabotaging elections.
In Bijapur and Sukma at least five CRPF jawans were injured in the gun battel between the Maoists and security personnel on the day of polling. Two Maoists were also killed in the firing.
The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Subrat Sahu said that total 4341 booths were set up for 31.80 lakh voters across these 18 seats. In the Maoist-infested areas the polling was conducted from 7 am to 3 pm on ten constituencies while on the remaining 8 constituencies the polling ended at 5 pm. Khujji constituency in Sukma district recorded highest polling of 72% by 5 pm. In Dr Raman Singh’s constituency – Rajnandgaon - nearly 70.5% voters exercised their franchise.
The Maoists conducted an IED blast in Dantewada against the security personnel. They destroyed a polling booth but the officials and local people had set up a makeshift booth under a tree and carried out the process. Such was the spirit of the voters. Prime Minister Modi had saluted to this spirit and resolve of the people in Chhattisgarh's Maoist infested areas.