Raipur (Chhattisgarh) [India], Nov 12 (ANI): Polling for all 18 seats in the first phase of Chhattisgarh Assembly elections concluded on Monday, with voting percentage at 70 per cent.Also Read - Highlights India vs New Zealand 3rd T20I Match : IND Win By 73 Runs, NZ Whitewashed 3-0
Addressing media persons here, Umesh Sinha, Election Commissioner, said, “Voting has ended. Turnout is 70 per cent till now in the first phase of Chhattisgarh Assembly elections. Figures will be updated later.” Also Read - Highlights | India vs New Zealand 2nd T20I Match: IND Beat NZ By 7 Wickets, Clinch T20I Series
He also lauded the disabled people and senior citizens for battling their odds and exercising their franchise. “I compliment the youth and others for their enthusiastic participation in the polling. People in interior areas also participated in the polling with great enthusiasm this time round,” he said. Also Read - Highlights IND vs NZ 1st T20I Match: Suryakumar Yadav's Fifty & Rishabh Pant's Gutsy Knock Guide India Home
Commenting on the problems faced during the polling, Sudeep Jain of the Election Commission said, “Barring one place, we didn’t see any major problems at other places. Only one per cent of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and 1.9 per cent VVPATs were changed.”
The EC had put up an elaborate mechanism in place to curb the misuse of money and muscle power during the polls. Several measures were undertaken to prevent the distribution of cash, liquor and other freebies to induce the voters.
As many as nine expenditure observers were deployed in 18 assembly constituencies in the first phase of the polls. Seventy-two flying squads and 94 static surveillance teams were operationalised in all 18 seats to check the movement of cash, liquor, drugs and other freebies in Chhattisgarh.
Adequate numbers of check posts were created to curb the distribution of cash and liquor during the election period. A round-the-clock control room had been set up in all the districts. An air intelligence unit (MU) of IT authorities was set up at Raipur airport to respond to any emergencies.
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) was asked to keep vigil on trafficking and smuggling of drugs and narcotics in the state during the election period. Central Paramilitary Forces, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Railway Protection Force (RPF) were also asked to keep a watch on interstate border areas, airports and railway stations during the polling.
The security personnel had been advised to inform the Income Tax Department if any person were caught carrying cash more than Rs 10 lakh, gold or silver without proper documents, illicit liquor, freebies and so on with the intention to distribute among electors.
The EC seized Rs 12.14 lakh in cash. The total liquor seizure was worth Rs 5.86 lakh (2,169 litre), while the total drug or narcotics seizure was worth Rs 1.76 lakh (22.16 kg). Freebies worth Rs 1.85 crore were also seized by the officials. In all, the value of total seizures was Rs 2.05 crore.
Chhattisgarh underwent the first phase of elections on Monday, in 18 constituencies in eight Naxal-affected districts in Bastar region. Out of these 18 seats, 12 seats were reserved for Scheduled Tribes, while one was a Scheduled Caste reserved seat.
Around 53 polling stations out of the total of 4,336 reported delayed start due to technical reasons. However, 100 per cent polling stations have reported smooth polling with long queues outside.
The polling for remaining 72 constituencies will take place on November 20. The counting of votes will take place on December 11. A total of 1,291 candidates are in the fray for the two-phased state polls. (ANI)
This is published unedited from the ANI feed.