Chhattisgarh Assembly Elections Phase 1 LIVE UPDATES: Voting begins in 18 seats; IED blast in Dantewada

Chhattisgarh Assembly Elections Phase 1 LIVE UPDATES: 18 seats in the Maoist-affected areas of Chhattisgarh went to polls today. Despite heavy security, Naxals triggered an IED blast in Dantewada today.

Chhattisgarh Assembly Elections Phase 1 LIVE UPDATES Voting begins in 18 seats; IED blast in Dantewada
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.  
Voting began at 7 am on Monday, according to news agency ANI. Following phase one of the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections on Monday, the rest of the 72 constituencies will vote on November 20.
The Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state, led by CM Raman Singh, would seek victory for the fourth time after remaining in power for three consecutive terms. On the other hand,
 the Congress hopes to snatch power in the state from the saffron party with the help of huge anti-incumbency in the state. Meanwhile, former Chief Minister Ajith Jogi’s party would also hope to claim victory, in alliance with Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party.
Polling is underway at 18 constituencies in the Naxal-affected region in Chattisgarh. However, 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), ANI reported. Here are a few visuals from the booth.
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.
8:05 am:  No personnel was injured in the IED blast triggered by Maoists in Dantewada region, in the wee hours of Monday, news agency ANI reported. Giving details of the incident, Devnath, AIG (Anti-Naxal Ops), told ANI, “IED was triggered by Naxals on Tumakpal-Nayanar road at around 5:30 am to target security forces.
No harm to security forces & polling party. Party safely reached to Nayanar polling booth No. 183 under PS Katekalyan.” Meanwhile, voting has begun in all 18 seats in phase one of the elections.
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. News agency ANI tweeted a few visuals before the polling began in these seats.
 Polling takes places today in 18 constituencies in eight Naxal-hit districts in the state. Voting in 10 seats –  Mohla-Manpur, Antagarh, Bhanupratappur, Kanker, Keshkal, Kondagaon, Narayanpur,
 Dantewada, Bijapur and Konta –  is from 7 am to 3 pm due to the presence of Maoists. Voting in the remaining 8 seats –  Khairgarh, Dongargarh, Rajnandgaon, Dongargaon, Khujji, Bastar, Jagdalpur and Chitrakot – will take place from 8 am to 5 pm.
 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, news agency PTI reported.
 “Polling in nine constituencies of Bastar division and one in Rajnandgaon district has begun from 7 am and will conclude at 3 pm, while in the rest of the constituencies the polling time is from 8 am to 5 pm,” a polling official told PTI.
7:25 am: Maoists launched yet another attack in Dantewada on polling day on Monday. 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.
 Voting is currently underway in 10 out of 18 seats in the state. On Sunday, Naxals triggered six IEDs between Gome village and Gattakal in Koyali Beda in Kanker district resulting in the death of one BSF jawan.
7:00 am: Voting in 10 out of 18 seats in the red belt of Chhattisgarh began on Monday for the first phase of the assembly elections amid heavy security cover. Polling for rest of the eight seats will begin at 8 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.

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