Raipur: Voting for the second and final phase of the Chhattisgarh Assembly polls began on a slow note on Tuesday with 12.54 per cent of the electorate exercising their franchise in the first two hours, an official said.
A total of 1,079 candidates, including 119 women, are contesting in 72 constituencies of the state with an electorate of 1,54,00,596. This is the last of the two-phase polls to the 90-member assembly in Chhattisgarh where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been in power for the last 15 years.
“Voting began at 8 am and around 12.54 per cent voter turnout was recorded till 10 am,” an election official said.
There were reports of technical snags in electronic voting machines (EVMs) at some places and corrective measures were taken, he said. Two state ministers -Rajesh Munat and Premprakash Pandey – and BJP’s national general secretary Saroj Pandey voted in their respective areas.
The time of polling is from 8 am to 5 pm, but in two polling booths – Amamora (booth no. 72) and Modh (no.76) in Bindranavgarh constituency (Gariaband) – voting is being held from 7 am to 3 pm due to threat posed by Naxals, the official said.
Around 1.50 lakh security personnel have been deployed across the state to ensure peaceful polling, he said.
In the second phase, districts like Gariaband, Dhamtari, Mahasamund, Kabirdham, Jashpur and Balrampur are Naxal-affected areas and extra vigil is being maintained there, the official said.
The maximum number of 46 candidates are in Raipur City South constituency and the least number of six candidates are in Bindranavagarh seat.
Of the 72 seats, 17 are reserved for Scheduled Tribes and nine for Scheduled Castes.
A total of 19,336 polling booths have been set up for the second phase, of which 444 are sensitive booths. The first phase of polls in 18 seats of eight Naxal- hit districts on November 12 had recorded over 76 per cent voter turnout.
The counting of votes will be held on December 11.