A Chhattisgarh woman, Vishwas, born a century ago, turned up to cast her vote today in the first phase of the state's elections, according to news agency ANI. The 100-year-old woman, whose name means 'trust', reached a polling station at Chhattisgarh's Dornapal, supporting herself with a stick and was also helped by her son. Voting for the Chhattisgarh elections kicked off in 18 seats under heavy security cover. The remaining 72 constituencies will vote in a second phase, which will be held on November 20, while counting of votes will occur on December 11.
The overall voter turnout until 11 am, according to the Chhattisgarh Chief Electoral Officer, has been a low 17 per cent. The total voter turnout in the 2013 state elections during the first phase was 76 per cent.
The incumbent BJP government in Chhattisgarh, led by chief minister Raman Singh, after being in power for the past three terms, is hoping for yet another mandate. Meanwhile, the Congress wants to recapture power in the state, by focusing on local issues such as a liquor ban and loan waivers for farmers.
However, rebel Congress leader Ajit Jogi has thrown a spanner in the Congress' plans as his Janta Congress Chhattisgarh party has successfully clinched a tie-up with Dalit leader and BSP chief Mayawati.
The Chhattisgarh elections have taken place amid a looming Maoist threat against the Chhattisgarh government. The Maoists have sought a boycott of the elections and have over the past few weeks, carried out seven attacks on security personnel and media personnel.
Just today morning, Maoists triggered seven explosions in Chhattisgarh's Kanker district, around 175-km away from state capital Raipur.
A heavy security apparatus, including drones, one lakh security personnel and at least 12 helicopters have been deployed to ensure polling finishes smoothly.
Poll officials will be ferried by bikes, boats or on foot for around two dozen booths.
(With Inputs From ANI)