Chhattisgarh: 58.14% turnout till 3 pm in Bastar; CRPF man killed, officer injured in 2 incidents

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Voters show their identification cards as they wait in queues at a polling station to cast their votes for the first phase of Lok Sabha elections, in Bastar district, Friday, April 19, 2024

Voters show their identification cards as they wait in queues at a polling station to cast their votes for the first phase of Lok Sabha elections, in Bastar district, Friday, April 19, 2024

Raipur/Jagdalpur: A voter turnout of more than 58 per cent was recorded till 3 pm on Friday in the Naxal-hit Bastar Lok Sabha constituency of Chhattisgarh, which saw the death of a CRPF jawan after a grenade accidentally went off and injury to an officer in an IED blast, officials said.


Amid tight security, polling in the Bastar seat started at 7 am and 58.14 per cent turnout was registered till 3 pm, an election official said.

A Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawan deployed on security duty was killed when a shell of an under-barrel grenade launcher (UBGL) accidentally exploded in Galgam village under Usoor police station limits in Bijapur district, a police official said.

The incident took place when security personnel were out on an area domination exercise near a polling booth, the official added.


"Constable Devendra Kumar, belonging to CRPF's 196th battalion, suffered serious injuries in the blast and was airlifted to Jagdalpur but he died during during treatment," he said.

In another incident, an assistant commandant of the CRPF was injured when a pressure improvised explosive device (IED) planted by Naxalites exploded in Bhairamgarh police station area of Bijapur district, police said.

The incident occurred near Chihka polling booth under Bhairamgarh police station limits when a team of security personnel was out on an area domination operation in the area in view of polling.


During the exercise, Manu HC, assistant commandant belonging to CRPF's 62nd battalion, came in contact with the pressure IED, triggering a blast that caused injuries on his left leg and hand, he said.

Polling in booths of Kondagaon, Narayanpur, Chitrakot, Dantewada, Bijapur and Konta assembly constituencies and 72 booths in Jagdalpur assembly constituency in the Bastar Lok Sabha seat ended at 3 pm, he said.

In Bastar assembly constituency, polling is being held from 7 am to 5 pm, while in Jagdalpur, 175 booths are seeing voting from 7 am to 5 pm, he added.


Officials said long queues of voters were witnessed at several polling stations in Dantewada, Bijapur and Bastar districts. Elderly voters, some in wheelchairs, also arrived at the polling booths to cast their vote.

Newly married couple Devesh Thakur and Gangotri Thakur were the cynosure of all eyes as they came to vote at Guriya booth in Naraynapur district in their wedding attire.

Among the initial voters were Congress candidate Kawasi Lakhma, who cast his vote at the Nagaras polling booth (Sukma), BJP's Mahesh Kashyap in Kalcha (Bastar), state BJP chief Kiran Deo in Shanti Nagar (Jagdalpur- Bastar) and state Forest Minister Kedar Kashyap in Farsaguda (Bastar).


Inspector General of Police (Bastar Range) Sundarraj P and Commissioner of Bastar Division (Revenue) Shyam Dhawade cast their votes in Haatkachora polling booth in Bastar district.

Sundarraj said that in this battle of "ballot versus bullet", ultimately the ballot would emerge successful, meaningful and powerful.

"Despite repeated boycott and threat calls by Maoists, there is lot of enthusiasm and commitment among the people of Bastar, who are turning out in huge numbers to the polling stations," he said.


The IG appealed to the voters of Bastar to come out to polling stations and exercise their franchise in order to strengthen the democratic values.

Defying a poll boycott call by Naxalites in remote Chandameta in Bastar district, villagers were seen queuing up to cast their votes in the polling booth there.

The Balud polling booth in Dantewada district sported the theme of environment conservation, with officials giving away saplings to voters to create awareness about conservation.

At least 60,000 state and paramilitary personnel have been deployed across the constituency to ensure peaceful polling.

Altogether 14,72,207 voters, comprising 7,71,679 women, 7,00,476 men and 52 transgenders, are eligible to exercise their franchise in the seat for which 11 candidates in the fray, the official said.

As many as 1,961 polling booths have been set up in the constituency, 61 of which have been categorised as vulnerable and 196 as critical, officials said.

The main fight is between the Congress' firebrand leader Kawasi Lakhma and BJP's Mahesh Kashyap, a fresh face, in Bastar, which the saffron party lost in 2019.

The voter turnout in Bastar Lok Sabha seat stood at 66.04 per cent in 2019 polls.