This Article is From Nov 11, 2013

Chhattisgarh polls: three bombs found, unprecedented security as Maoist violence shadows voting

Chhattisgarh polls: three bombs found, unprecedented security as Maoist violence shadows voting
Bastar, Chhattisgarh: Thousands of people defied threats and came out to vote as the Maoist affected constituencies of Chhattisgarh went to polls today under extraordinary security. Today's voting kicked off state polls seen as a semi-final before next year's national election and the first major test for BJP's Narendra Modi, who is running for Prime Minister. The rest of the state will vote on November 19.

Here are the latest updates on this story

  1. A staggering one lakh personnel drawn from across the country guarded just 18 of the state's 90 constituencies that voted on the first day of two-phase polling. These constituencies are in the Maoist strongholds of Bastar and Rajnandgaon districts.

  2. Three bombs were found, two of them outside a polling station in Dantewada, after polling began this morning. Several bombs were found across the state in the past week, amid Maoist threats to do everything possible to derail the polls. Maoists had put up posters warning voters of repercussions if they defied their boycott call.

  3. Chief Minister Raman Singh, who is aiming at a third straight term, predicted a high turnout, mainly of women voters. "People are happily, willingly coming to vote," he said. He is among the 143 candidates whose fate will be decided by nearly three lakh voters today. (Chhattisgarh constituencies)

  4. Over a dozen choppers are on air surveillance and air ambulances have also been kept on stand-by. Nearly 3,000 cameras are installed at polling stations. "We have an unprecedented number of security personnel. We want people to come out and vote fearlessly," said Arun Dev Gautam, Inspector General, Bastar.

  5. Earlier this morning, an encounter broke out between Maoists and the Border Security Force or BSF in Kanker in Bastar. Hours before that, three personnel were injured in blasts in Kanker and Rajnandgaon.

  6. A Congress candidate from Jagdalpur was also injured last night. Shamu Kashyap, reportedly chosen by Rahul Gandhi, alleges that he was attacked by BJP workers. "BJP workers came in cars and beat me, they said stop neta-giri (politics)," said he said, while recovering in hospital. The BJP, however, alleged that their workers had been beaten. (Assembly elections 2013: Track live updates)

  7. These polls will test the BJP's political gamble of naming  Narendra Modi as the party's Prime Ministerial candidate for 2014, despite the reservations of a section of party leaders led by LK Advani. (Previous results)

  8. Chief Minister Raman Singh's main rival in Rajnandgaon is Congress's Alka Mudliyar, wife of Uday Mudliyar, who was killed in a Maoist ambush in May, which virtually wiped out the entire Congress leadership in the state.

  9. The wife of Mahendra Karma - the founder of the anti-Naxal force Salwa Judum who was also killed in the attack - is contesting from Dantewada. Many believe the Congress is banking on the sympathy factor after the killing of its leaders.

  10. After Chhattisgarh, voters in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Mizoram will also vote for new state assemblies. All results will be declared after counting on December 8.