RAIPUR: To conduct the first phase of polling to be held on November 12, the polling booth staff on Saturday left for various hypersensitive polling stations through choppers in far-flung areas of the Maoist-affected Bastar zone.
The poll staff carried with them the electronic voting machines and related materials amid tight security. As per the directive of the Election Commission of India, extensive security arrangements have been put in place across the Naxal-affected areas of the state.
Barring the five constituencies of Rajnandgaon, Khujji, Khairagarh, Dongargaon and Dongargarh where the polling will be held from 8 AM to 5 PM, the timing to cast votes for the remaining 13 seats affected by the presence of the outlawed Maoists has been restricted from 7 am to 3 pm on security ground.
Helicopters have been arranged to ferry the poll staff to and from the polling stations in sensitive areas.
A total of 190 candidates, including the CM Raman Singh, are contesting in the first phase. As many as 4336 polling booths have been set up for Monday polling day. In 2013 polls the BJP could win just six of the 18 seats.
During the previous two weeks, there had been at least half-a-dozen naxal violence in the conflict zone of Bastar.