Polling begins in Chhattisgarh amid tight security

April 16th, 2009 - 9:23 am ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Raipur, April 16 (IANS) Voting for Chhattisgarh’s 11 parliamentary seats began Thursday morning amid tight security in view of the call for boycott by Maoist rebels.
Polling booths opened at 7 a.m. and long queues of voters could be seen in urban areas. However, voting began on a dull note in most of the rural areas.

About 15.4 million people, including 7.6 million women, are eligible to vote.

According to initial reports reaching here, most of the about 250 troubled booths located in Maoist strongholds in Bastar and Kanker constituencies wore deserted as the insurgents had warned voters that their hands would be chopped off if they cast their ballots.

“Heavy security arrangements have been made to handle insurgents and ensure smooth polling. We will be keeping aerial view on booths of restive areas and also tracking the guerillas’ movements,” Additional Director General of Police Girdhari Nayak told IANS.

Voting will end in Bastar and Kanker seats by 3 p.m., while in the other nine seats polling booths will close at 4 p.m..

Thursday’s polling will decide the fate of 178 candidates, including nine who face criminal charges.

The election is seen here as a direct contest between the state’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress that heads government in New Delhi.

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