The Moaist ridden state of north-eastern India – Chhattisgarh faced one of its biggest governing challenge yesterday – the Assembly elections. But despite continuous threats and certain adverse incidents, the first phase of Chhattisgarh election saw a massive 70% voters, defying all the threats and using the right to vote – although amid heavy security.

Although the Election Commission of India had been working since months to bring voters in confidence for casting their votes, and they hoped that the first phase of Chhattisgarh election in 18 Maoist-affected seats of Chhattisgarh will break the 75% record in 2013 – the polls held yesterday was a huge success with a little over 70% voting. Although it wasn’t exactly a record breaking election, but in comparison with the previous few elections, getting a 70 is a singular achievement of the people working in the fields and the voters of people amid threats.

Among all 18 districts, highest voter turnout was recorded in Khujji at 65.5 per cent till 4.30 pm; and the lowest voting had to be in the Maoist hotbed – Baxar and Dantewada with 58%, which is a healthy record for the region. Other districts in the Naxal belt including Kanker, Khairagarh, Kondagaon, Keshkal and Dongargarh had 62, 60.5, 61.47, 63.51 and 64% voting respectively. The voting rates are a victory of the voters as the Naxals had tried to spread fear among voters and boycott the election by detonating an IED in Dantewada district, just few minutes before the polling began.

In the phase 1, as many as 18 assembly seats spread across 8 districts, contesting 190 candidates was held with 4,336 polling booths were set up and 19,079 polling personnel deployed for thick layer of security. Now, the state is preparing for the second phase of polling in 72 seats, out of the 90-member Assembly that will be held on November 20; and the counting and poll results will be declared on December 11.

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