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Chhattisgarh Assembly elections 2018 LIVE UPDATES: Polling concludes for first phase with 70% voter turnout

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Marking the beginning of the last round of crucial assembly elections before the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, 18 constituencies in the Maoists-affected areas of Chhattisgarh went to polls today amid tightened security.

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The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is eyeing a fourth straight term in the tribal-dominated state as the opposition Congress seeks to return to power after 15 years. Around 1 lakh security personnel have been deployed in eight districts, amid a threat from Maoists who have called for a boycott of the elections.

Voting in 10 of the 18 constituencies spread across eight Maoist-affected districts began at 7 am and will end at 3 pm, while in the rest of the eight constituencies, polling started at 8 am and will end at 5 pm.

Chhattisgarh Assembly elections 2018 LIVE UPDATES:

18:34 pm: Voting has ended, turnout is 70% till now in the first phase of Chhattisgarh Elections 2018. Figures will be updated later: Umesh Sinha, Election Commission

17.30 pm: According to News State Madhya Pradesh Chhattisgarh, around 67% voter turnout recorded in the first phase.

17.00 pm: Polling concludes for the first phase.

16:45 pm: Ghanaram Sahu, former Chhattisgarh Congress vice president joins Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in presence of BJP chief Amit Shah. Shahu yesterday resigned from Congress party.

16.30 pm: 56.58% voter turnout recorded till 4.30 pm in the first phase. 61.47% in Kondagaon; 63.51%  in Keshkal; 62% in Kanker; 58% in Bastar; 49% in Dantewada; 60.5% in Khairagarh; 64% in Dongargarh; 65.5% in Khujji.

16:15 pm: Security forces defused IED detected on the road leading to Dwarapara polling booth, under PS Bairamgarh in Bijapur.

16:05 pm: A total of 5 personnel of Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) are injured and around five Naxals are dead in the encounter that broke out between security forces & Naxals in Bijapur’s Pamed area today. All the CoBRA personnel are out danger.

15:55 pm: Voter turnout at 3 pm

Chintagufa- 72%

Mohalla Manpur- 67%

15:25 pm: 47.18% voter turnout recorded till 3 pm in the first phase.

15:15 pm: Polling ends in Narayanpur, Dantewada, Bijapur, Konta, Mohla-Manpur, Antagarh, Bhanupratappur, Kanker, Keshkal and Kondagaon.

15:10 am: In Sukma’s Konta, 315 votes have been cast so far which is much higher than the number of votes polled in 2013 elections, which saw only 5 votes being cast.

14:50 pm: After the Nilwaya naxal attack, the challenges have gone up. Naxals had threatened villagers against voting. We assured the villagers of a secure environment, put in place a three level security so that people can vote without fear: CRPF official.

14:48 pm: People in Dantewada’s Madenda village cast their votes even after threat from the Naxals to cut their fingers if the ink mark is seen on their fingers. Local says, “there are 263 registered voters in the village and many are voting even after the threat.”

14:45 pm: Voter turnout till 2pm: 

Narayanpur- 63%
Bastar- 54%
Chitrakot- 54%
Jagadalpur- 48%
Kanker- 47.5%
Rajnandgaon 43%

14:30 pm: Two IED bombs weighing 5kg and 10 kg, respectively, were found in a village at Bhanupratappur Assembly constituency. The bombs were in Kodekurse police station limits and were diffused by the Bomb Disposal Squad.

14:00 pm: Out of the total 900 registered voters at the Sulangi polling booth in Koyalibeda village of Kanker, only 120 votes were polled until 2 pm. The slow voting is reported to be due to repeated EVM malfunctioning at the booth.

13:40 pm: Keshkal and Kondagaon also record high turnouts of 44.04% and 46.04%.

13:25 pm: Narayanpur records 39% polling till 1pm, Mohala-Manpur 52.50% and Konta 33%.

13:20 pm: Palamadagu polling booth in Konta constituency is one of the booths where no votes have been caste until 12 pm. Naxals have written messages on walls and asked voters to boycott the elections.

13:15 pm: 25.15% voter turnout recorded till 1 pm in the first phase.

13:10 pm: 103-year-old woman Soni Bai exercised her voting rights at a polling booth in Gorgunda’s Devarpalli. His son carried her to the polling station in his arms.

12:55 pm: 2 Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) jawan injured in the encounter that broke out between security forces and Naxals in Bijapur’s Pamed area.

12:53 pm: Bilaspur must be a smart city. The government will provide all help in that direction. Only BJP can ensure Chhattisgarh is free of Maoists. Those who gave birth to Maoism, will they ever eliminate it? They defend Maoists, call them revolutionaries: PM Modi.

12:52 pm: Up to 12 pm, at least 156 people have voted in Sukma’s Mukram area. In 2013 Assembly election, there was zero voter turnout.

12:51 pm: Opposition has a knack of making fun of all our schemes. Earlier there was lack of healthcare; medicines and treatment were expensive. Due to Ayushman Bharat, healthcare has become affordable for poor: PM Modi.

12:50 pm: Voting percentage reaches 22.50, according to EC sources.

12:50 pm: Till 12 pm, voter turnout at Narayanpur was 39%, in Bastar 33%, in Jagdalpur 31% and Chitrakot 32.5%.

12:49 pm: Due to demonetisation, black money could be traced, companies involved in illegal trade could be traced. Earlier, the money was hidden inside homes. After demonetisation, the money had to come out. This is your money: PM Modi.

12:48 pm: Poor people deposited Rs 90,000 crore in banks. The number of houses we built for poor in four years, Congress would have taken 30 years. More than 6 lakh houses, including 1.5 lakh under PM Awas Yojana for tribals, have been distributed in Chhattisgarh: PM Modi.

12:47 pm: Congress’ politics is centred on one family. Which poor doesn’t want gas connection or bank balance? But the family in Congress is disconnected from people. They neither have the will nor the leadership to bring changes: PM Modi.

12:45 pm: Encounter broke out between security forces and Naxals in Bijapur’s Pamed area at around 12:20 pm today. Firing underway.

12:44 pm: “Opposition wants to instil a sense of caste among people. But people have seen through that. Opposition is confused about how to face BJP,” says PM Modi.

12:42 pm: Some people want to create differences between people — between rich and poor, between urban and rural. BJP believes if India has to grow, differences among people should be done away with. Only development can do that, and BJP is committed to that: PM Modi.

12:40 pm: Questioning Congress’ stand on corruption, PM Modi told the gathering in Bilaspur that it was ironical that the mother-son duo, who are roaming free despite being named in a fraud case, have the gall to give lectures on honest practices.

12:35 pm: “Recently, Congress released its 36-point manifesto for Chhattisgarh. At the release of the manifesto, ‘Naamdaar’ was referred to as ‘sir’ 150 times. It means for them the importance of Chhattisgarh is lesser than Naamdaar,” says PM Modi.

12:30 pm: Calling out Congress’ dynastic politics, Narendra Modi said that while politics of Congress starts in the family and ends there, BJP’s politics starts at the home of the poor and doesn’t rest till they have changed their lives.

12:25 pm: The Election Commission has clarified that there is all EVMs are working properly across the state during the first phase of the elections. “Certain sources are spreading rumours that EVMs are malfunctioning repeatedly. This is to clarify that above info is false. Voting is going on smoothly. If at all, any glitches are noticed, issue is sorted out as quickly as possible,” the Election Commission said.

12:22 pm: “Our opposition still don’t know how to fight the BJP. We are focused on development, we went beyond the caste divisions. You can witness development wherever you go in Chhattisgarh,” says PM Modi.

12:20 pm: “No post-poll alliance with Ajit Jogi,” said Congress leader TS Singh. “If there is no pre-poll alliance then there will not be any post-poll alliance. We will not go with the party whose party chief is so controversial. There are chances that the Congress party may go with like-minded parties but definitely not with Jogi,” Deo said. He further added that the chief minister will be from the Congress if the party forms its government in the state.

12:19 pm: “One of the reasons that we have got the opportunity to serve Chhattisgarh time and again is that there is a strong link between the people and the government workers in the organisation here,” said PM Modi.

12:18 pm: PM Modi says, I have been told that people in large numbers are casting their votes in the Bastar region. I’ve faith that people will also vote in large no.s in the 2nd phase of elections. Voters should go by the mantra Phele matdaan phirjalpaan.”

12:16 pm: PM Modi is addressing a public rally in Chhattisgarh’s Bilaspur, which will go to polls in the second phase on November 20.

12.15 pm: Thirty-one EVMs and 61 VVPAT machines were replaced due to technical snags, a poll official said.

12:10 pm: Voter turnout better than 2013, people defying Maoists’ threats: Sukma’s Superintendent of Police (SP) Abhishek Meena. “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,” he added.

12:01 pm: Voters in Jagdalpur’s Gandhi Nagar ward protest outside the polling centre, saying that the names of many voters are missing including those who have been living here for the past 25 years.

11:40 am: Polling underway,16.24% voter turnout recorded so far.

11:30 am: Rajnandgaon: Huge voter turnout at the polling station in Naxal-affected Manpur’sPardoni village where Naxali posters & banners asking people to boycott elections had been seen.

11.20 am: Senior Congress leader and party in charge of Chhattisgarh, PL Punia has alleged that the state machinery has planned massive rigging in polling booths in remote areas of the Maoist affected districts.

11:10 am: Voters have been turning out in good numbers to cast their votes in the Chhattisgarh polls’ phase one. In fact, many differently-abled have been clicked outside polling booths.

10:55 am:  Three IEDs have been detected near a polling booth in Konta’s Banda – CRPF bomb disposal squad is in the process of defusing. Polling is underway at a makeshift booth under a tree.

10:40 am: One kg explosive recovered from Pandepara on Bijapur-Bhairamgarh-Keshkutul Road. CRPF’s bomb disposal squad defused them. One suspect has been arrested from the spot.

10:30 am: EVM malfunctioning reported in Kanker, Kondagaon. Reports of EVM malfunctioning have come in from Kanker-Talakurra in Bhanupratappur, where the electorate is angry over stalled voting. Glitches are being reported in at least 15% EVMs across Kondagaon district.

10:20 am: A 100-year-old woman votes at a polling station in Dornapal .

10:10 am: Polling underway,10.7% voter turnout recorded so far.

10:08 am: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh has urged Chhattisgarh youths, women and senior citizens to cast their votes in the state Assembly elections.

10:05 am: Polling booths have been shifted to makeshift tents under trees after polling staff found IEDs and Naxal uniforms at polling booths in Lakhapal and Chintalnar areas of Sukma district.

10:02 am: Close to zero voting recorded at several booths in Dantewada till 10 am. Aranpur-01, Nahadi-0, Jabeli-03, Kikripara-0, Potali-0, Nilavaya-0, Dokapara-0, Purengel-0.

10:00 am: Congress Dantewada MLA Devati Karma casts her vote in Faraspal

9:55 am: “The polling was delayed in 53 polling stations out of the total of 4336 due to technical reasons. However, now all polling stations are reporting smooth voting with long queues outside,” the Election Commission said.

9:50 am: The Sangwari polling centres in Dantewada which have been set up specially for women are also guarded by women security forces.

9:40 am: A special selfie zone has been created for voters in parts of the Rajnandgoan district to take selfies and send it to Election Commission of India. Authorities have announced that the five best selfies will win a prize.

9:30 am: Total 18% voter turnout recorded in Rajanandgaon’s Mohala Manpur. Among the voters, 18% were women and 19% were male voters.

9:20 am: Physically-disabled, visually impaired men arriving to vote with great enthusiasm at polling stations.

9:15 am: A ‘Divyang Rath’ in Rajnandgaon has been arranged to take physically challenged voters to polling booths.

9:10 am: Voters have turned up in large numbers at polling booths in the Naxal hotbed of Sukma district.

9:00 am: CM Raman Singh’s son Abhishek on way to cast vote.

8:55 am: Voting has resumed at the Pink polling booth in Kamla College, in Rajnandgaon’s Sangwari.

8:45 am: “Polling is being held in 18 constituencies of Chhattisgarh today, they are Left-Wing Extremism-affected areas. Polls being held in 2 phases to provide special security in these 18 constituencies. These 18 areas are kept in 1st phase so that paramilitary forces remain fresh. Nearly 900 polling personnel were air-dropped from helicopters and 16,500 travelled by road,” Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat said,

8:35 am: Voting was stopped at the Pink polling booth in Kamla College in Rajnandgaon’s Sangwari due to a technical glitch in the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM).

8:25 am: A total of 190 candidates are in the fray, with 30 candidates – highest in a constituency – to lock horns in Rajnandgaon. On the other hand, the least number of candidates in a constituency are in Bastar and Kondagaon where five candidates each would battle it out. Notably, incumbent CM Raman Singh will face BJP stalwart Later Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s niece Karuna Shukla, who is contesting polls on a Congress ticket from Rajnandgaon.

8:10 am: PM Modi urges people to vote

8:00 am: Voting begins in five constituencies of Rajnandgaon and three constituencies of Bastar.

7:55 am: Voting is set to begin in five constituencies of Rajnandgaon and three constituencies of Bastar at 8 am in the first phase of the Chhattisgarh polls.

7:40 am: Almost 4,336 polling booths have been set up for the first phase of the polls, while nearly 19,079 polling personnel have been deployed for security purposes,

7:25 am: Maoists launched yet another attack in Dantewada on polling day. According to news agency ANI, 1-2 kilograms of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was allegedly blasted by Naxals near Tumakpal camp in Katekalyan block today. No casualty reported.

7:00 am: Voting in 10 out of 18 seats in the red belt of Chhattisgarh began for the first phase of the assembly elections.

6:50 am: 18 constituencies in fray for the first phase of elections in Chhattisgarh are Rajnandgaon, Khairagarh, Dongargarh, Dongargaon, Khujji, Mohla-Manpur, Antagarh, Bhanupratappur, Kanker, Keshkal, Kondagaon, Narayanpur, Bastar, Jagdalpur, Chitrakot, Dantewada, Bijapur and Konta.

6:45 am: Security has been beefed up in the state in the wake of several Maoist attacks in the run-up to the phase one of the assembly elections. Nearly one lakh security personnel have been deployed for duty on election day while drones were deployed in Dantewada to spot Naxal activity in the district on Sunday.

Also Read: Chhattisgarh Assembly elections 2018: Polling for 18 constituencies underway

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