Chhattisgarh bypoll: 50% voting in Antagarh Assembly seat

Half the electorate today turned out for the bye-election to Antagarh Assembly constituency in the Naxal-affected Kanker district of Chhattisgarh.

Raipur: Half the electorate on Saturday turned out for the bye-election to Antagarh Assembly constituency in the Naxal-affected Kanker district of Chhattisgarh.

Polling was peaceful. "49.86 per cent polling was recorded in this seat, reserved for tribals," Joint Chief Electoral Officer DD Singh told PTI.

The polling was held from 7 AM to 3 PM, he said, adding that exact voting figure would be known once officials returned to the district headquarters.

Despite Naxal threats, around 77 per cent of the voters had exercised the franchise in the constituency during last year's Assembly elections.

As many as 202 polling stations, including 190 'hyper- sensitive', had been set up. The constituency has 1,51,894 registered voters. Around 10,000 security personnel had been deployed.

An encounter took place in Edenga village forest under Amabeda police station limits today, after Naxals carried out an IED blast targeting the special task force conducting cordon-off operation. It was followed by firing, but when jawans retaliated, the ultras fled, Kanker Superintendent of Police RN Dash said. Nobody was injured in the incident.

Though fourteen candidates had filed nominations, after scrutiny and withdrawals only two - Bhojraj Naag of BJP and Rupdhar Pudo of Ambedkarite Party of India -- were left.

The bye-election was necessitated after sitting BJP MLA Vikram Usendi was elected from Kanker Lok Sabha constituency.

Congress had declared Manturam Pawar as its candidate, but he surprisingly pulled out a day before the deadline. He was expelled from the party subsequently.

Counting will be held on September 20. 

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