In Maoist bastion of Bastar, 200 polling booths relocatedApril 28th, 2011 - 5:18 pm ICT by IANS
Raipur, April 28 (IANS) Citing security reasons, the Election Commission has relocated 200 polling booths for the May 8 by-election in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar parliamentary constituency where the Maoist shadow looms large.
“We have changed the voting places of 200 polling booths out of Bastar’s total 1,716 booths,” Sunil Kujur, chief electoral officer, Chhattisgarh, told IANS.
He said the “relocation of voting places was being done mainly for security reasons which was necessary for smooth conduct of elections”. In 2009 when Bastar went to polls, some 88 polling booths had been relocated, he added.
Official sources said the 200 booths that were relocated were based in forested areas controlled by Maoists and the authorities were not in a position to hold elections and also to deploy forces and send polling teams.
“There are areas in Bastar where you can’t move a single inch without the permission of Maoists. These are heavily mined and police have not penetrated these areas for years. I know the tribal voters of these booths that have relocated will have to travel several kilometres on foot to vote at a new place,” said a police official in Bastar.
He said the polling booths were relocated to areas close to the bases of police and paramilitary forces to ensure that Maoists don’t attack the forces or terrorise voters.
The state government has sought an additional 15,000 paramilitary troopers, besides several choppers, to hold peaceful polling in Bastar where for almost three decades, Maoists have been in control of forested interiors and carrying out several deadly attacks on forces and civilians, including the massacre in April last year of 76 security personnel in a single attack in Bastar region’s Dantewada district.
The Lok Sabha bypoll for Bastar was necessitated by the death of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Baliram Kashyap last month, who had won the seat four times.
There are eight candidates in the fray for the seat, which is reserved for tribals, but the main contest is between BJP’s Dinesh Kashyap, the son of Baliram Kashyap, and the Congress’ Kawasi Lakhma.
Lakhma is a legislator from Konta, one of the eight assembly segments that make up the Bastar parliamentary constituency.
- Bastar votes in by-poll amid Maoist firing (Lead) - May 08, 2011
- Bastar records 40 percent polling amid Maoist blasts, firing (Second Lead) - May 08, 2011
- BJP government has no control in Bastar: Ajit Jogi - Apr 30, 2011
- Polling begins for Bastar amid Maoist violence - May 08, 2011
- Battle for Bastar: tribal legislator threatens to dislodge BJP - May 07, 2011
- Chhattisgarh seeks extra troopers for Bastar by-poll - Apr 25, 2011
- Bastar is ours, say both BJP and Congress - May 10, 2011
- Campaigning ends for Chhattisgarh by-poll - May 06, 2011
- BJP leads in Bastar Lok Sabha seat - May 13, 2011
- By-poll ahead, but no one's campaigning in Bastar interiors - May 03, 2011
- BJP to step up campaigning in Bastar - Apr 25, 2011
- Eight candidates for Bastar Lok Sabha seat - Apr 22, 2011
- Committed to restoring peace in Bastar: Raman Singh - May 05, 2011
- BJP consolidates lead in Bastar Lok Sabha seat (Lead) - May 13, 2011
- Congress struggles to pick candidate for Bastar - Apr 07, 2011
Tags: bastion, chhattisgarh, chief electoral officer, choppers, election commission, forested areas, janata party, kilometres, Lok Sabha, maoist, maoists, paramilitary forces, parliamentary constituency, police official, polling booths, security personnel, security reasons, smooth conduct, three decades, voting places