Polling in 18 assembly constituencies in the first phase of the Chhattisgarh elections began on a slow note on Monday with about 14 per cent of the electorate casting their votes in the first few hours, a poll official said.
An improvised explosive device (IED) was detonated early morning in Dantewada district by Maoists, who had called for a boycott of the polls, the police said.
Voting in nine seats of Bastar division and one seat in Rajnandgaon district began at 7 am while in the other eight seats, it started at 8 am.
"Around 14 per cent polling has been registered so far. The polling is going on smoothly and peacefully," an official said.
Thirty-one EVMs and 61 VVPAT machines were replaced due to technical snags, a poll official said.
A thick security blanket, comprising over 1.25 lakh police and paramilitary personnel, was thrown across the 18 constituencies as they fall under the Maoist-hit areas of Bastar, Kanker, Sukma, Bijapur, Dantewada, Narayanpur, Kondagaon and Rajnandgaon districts.
Sukma's Superintendent of Police Abhishek Meena said voters from interiors areas in the district were coming out to exercise their right to vote, defying the Maoists call for election boycott.
In 'Bhejji 2' and Gorkha polling booths, zero voting was recorded in the 2013 polls, but this time 11 and 20 voters respectively had voted in the initial hours, he said.
In 'Bhejji 1' polling station, where last time only one vote was cast, 72 people had voted so far this time, the officer said.
In the first phase, 190 candidates were in the fray and as many as 4,336 polling booths had been set up and 19,079 polling personnel were deployed there.
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