A three-way contest is in the offing as voting for the second and concluding phase of the Chhattisgarh elections began on Tuesday for 72 seats spread across 19 districts, with the ruling BJP wrestling it out with the opposition Congress and the Ajit Jogi-Mayawati-led alliance emerging as a formidable third front. A total of 1,079 candidates are in the fray, and both Congress and BJP are contesting all the 72 seats in the Chhattisgarh Assembly Elections.
The Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is contesting for 25 seats and its ally and former Chief Minister Jogi's Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (J) is vying in 46 seats. The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has fielded candidates in 66 constituencies.
Polling will be held from 8 am to 5 pm in all 72 seats where an electorate of over 1.5 crore, including over 77 lakh male and over 76 lakh female voters are eligible to exercise their franchise. There are nearly 1,000 voters from the third gender.
Here are the LIVE updates on the voting underway for the Chhattisgarh Elections:
Voting has started for the second and final phase of Chhattisgarh assembly elections amid elaborate security arrangements including more than one lakh personnel, helicopters and drones. After a promising 76.28 per cent turnout in the 18-seat first phase in Maoist affected areas, the second phase is seeing voting for 72 seats spread across 19 districts. More than 1.5 crore people are eligible to vote in over 19,000 polling booths, deciding the fates of many high-profile leaders. Polling that started at 8 am will end at 5 pm.
The least number of candidates are in Bindranavagarh seat 6.
The fate of the state Assembly speaker Gaurishankar Agrawal (Kasdol constituency) and 9 ministers- Brijmohan Agrawal (Raipur city south seat), Rajesh Munat (Raipur city west), Amar Agrawal (Bilaspur), Bhaiyyalal Rajwade (Baikunthpur), Ramsevak Paikra (Pratappur), Punnulal Mohile (Mungeli), Prem Prakash Pandey (Bhilai Nagar), Dayaldas Baghel (Nawagarh) and Ajay Chandrakar (Kurud) besides party state president Dharamlal Kaushik (Bilha) will be decided in this phase, a PTI report said.
Besides, Congress state chief Bhupesh Baghel (Patan constituency), leader of opposition TS Singhdeo (Ambikapur), Congress MP from Durg Lok Sabha seat Tamradhwaj Sahu (Durg rural), former union minister Charandas Mahant (Shakti) are among the key Congress candidates who are contesting in the final phase.
Your vote is your voice. I urge all the voters of Chhattisgarh to come out and cast their vote. Your vote will decide the future of Chhattisgarh!- Rajyavardhan Rathore (@Ra_THORe) November 20, 2018
This is the last of the two-phase polls to the 90-member Assembly where the BJP has been in power for the last 15 years.
"Voting begun at 7 am in two polling booths of Bindranavagarh constituency (Gariaband district), while in the remaining 72 booths, polling started at 8 am," an election official said, according to PTI.
The time of polling in 72 constituencies is from 8 am to 5 pm except in two polling booths- Amamora (booth no. 72) and Modh (no.76) in Bindranavgarh where polling is being held from 7 am to 3 pm due to the threat posed by maoists, he said.
Ahead of the voting, mock polling was conducted at a polling station in Surguja's Ambikapur.
Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines were installed at all the polling centers, according to ANI.
Security has been tightened in the state with the deployment of over one lakh security personnel in lieu of Naxal attacks.