Campaigning ends for Chhattisgarh’s 11 seats

April 14th, 2009 - 6:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Raipur, April 14 (IANS) Campaigning for Chhattisgarh’s parliamentary elections drew to a close Tuesday with polling officials getting ready to conduct the mammoth exercise that will stretch over 20,967 polling booths and decide the fate of 178 candidates.
An electorate of 15.4 million, including 7.6 million women, will vote Thursday in what is essentially a contest between the state’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress that heads government in New Delhi.

Campaigning in the Maoist strongholds of Bastar and Kanker ended at 3 p.m. Both the seats will see voting between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. so that poll officials can be moved from the booths in the forested areas to safer places before sunset on voting day.

Election officials say five helicopters have been kept ready for ferrying the staff to to the 250 odd troubled booths in both the constituencies.

The campaigning for the remaining nine seats ended at 4 p.m. — polling in these seats will be held between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Besides the BJP and the Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has also fielded candidates in all 11 seats. In the last general elections in 2004, the BJP had put up a stunning show and bagged 10 seats while the Congress managed just one.

The key contest is at Bilaspur where BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP and the party’s flamboyant leader Dilip Singh Judeo is locked in battle with Congress nominee Renu Jogi, wife of the state’s first chief minister Ajit Jogi.

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