56% voter turnout in Chhattisgarh till 4 pm

Raipur, Apr 24: Around 56 per cent of the electorate cast their vote till 4 pm in the seven Lok Sabha seats in Chhattisgarh, where the last phase of polling is taking place today amidst tight security.

Polling has been by and large peaceful in the state till now.

An average 56 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the seven constituencies – Raipur, Durg, Bilaspur, Janjgir- Champa (SC), Raigarh (ST), Surguja (ST) and Korba – till 4 pm, State Joint Chief Electoral Officer DD Singh told PTI.

A large number of youths lined up before polling booths since early morning in capital Raipur, Durg, Bilaspur and Korba.

Meanwhile, EVMs were replaced at several places after they developed snag, Singh said.

A total of 153 candidates, including 15 women, are in the fray. As many as 14,474 booths – 3,283 of them declared critical – have been set up in these constituencies which are spread across 14 districts covering 58 Assembly seats.

Key contestants in the third and last round of polling in the State include sitting Congress MP and Union Minister Charandas Mahant (Korba), State BJP chief and sitting MP Vishnu Deo Sai (Raigarh-ST), six-time MP Ramesh Bais of BJP (Raipur), national president of BJP Mahila Morcha and sitting MP Saroj Pandey (Durg) and Karuna Shukla, Congress nominee and niece of former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee (Bilaspur).

The State, which has 11 Lok Sabha seats, voted for four of them on April 10 and 17.