New Delhi: Polling for the second phase of Chhattisgarh assembly election for 72 seats spread across 19 districts will be held on Tuesday. Elaborate security arrangements including the use of helicopters and drone have been put in place to keep an eye over 19,000 polling booths. Over one lakh security personnel have been deployed. Voting will be held from 8 am to 5 pm. Also Read - Must Watch | After 'Kamal, Kamal', BJP Leader's Breathless 'Corona Corona' Chant Goes Viral
For the Maoist-affected Gariaband, Dhamtari, Mahasamund, Kabirdham, Jashpur and Balrampur districts, extra security arrangements have been deployed. A total of 1,079 candidates are in the fray. Also Read - 'Stand Together With Govt But Sudden Lockdown Created Immense Panic', Rahul Gandhi Writes to PM
Meanwhile, a Naxal was killed during cross-firing between District Reserve Guard (DRG) and another in Sukma’s Fulbagdi area. A rifle, a pipe bomb and a bag have been recovered. Also Read - AAP MLA Raghav Chadha Claims UP CM Yogi Adityanath Getting Migrants 'Thrashed'; Cops Register FIR
Parties in Contest
Both Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are contesting all the 72 seats. The Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is in the fray 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.
A three-way contest is in the offing with the ruling BJP wrestling it out with the opposition Congress and the Ajit Jogi-Mayawati-led alliance emerging as a formidable third front. Jogi — who ruled the state for the first three years as a Congress Chief Minister, floated his own outfit and aligned with the BSP and the CPI — is perceived to impact the poll battle where the vote share difference between the BJP and the Congress was less than one per cent in 2013.
In 2013, the BJP with 41.04 per cent vote share had own 49 seats, while the Congress won 38 seats with a vote share of 40.29 per cent in the 90-member Assembly.
Among the prominent faces in the fray in the last phase are state Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel (Patan), Leader of Opposition in the Assembly T.S. Singh Deo (Ambikapur) and former Union Minister Charandas Mahant (Shakti).
For the BJP, the list includes state ministers Brijmohan Agrawal (Raipur City South), Rajesh Munat (Raipur City West), Amar Agrawal (Bilaspur), Prem Prakash Pandey (Bhilai Nagar), Dayaldas Baghel (Nawagarh) and state party president Dharamlal Kaushik (Bilha).
For the alliance, Jogi is in the fray from Marwahi, his wife Renu Jogi is contesting from Kota, while his daughter-in-law Richa Jogi is a BSP nominee from the Akaltara seat.
The first phase of election in 18 constituencies across eight Maoist-affected districts of the state took place on November 12 and saw a 76.28 per cent voting despite the rebels threatening people to stay away from the poll process.
The results will be declared on December 11.
(With agency inputs)