Raipur: Polling for 18 assembly seats of Chhattisgarh’s Maoist stronghold areas began Monday morning on a dull note as several polling booths in the forested interiors were deserted.
Polling began for 13 seats at sharp 7 a.m. while for five seats it started at 8 a.m. Majority of polling booths in jungle areas of Bastar region wore a deserted look, possibly due to Maoist diktat.
The voting for seats where polling began at 7 a.m. will conclude at 3 p.m. so that polling officials can return safely from Maoist areas by sunset.
But in urban areas such as Jagdalpur town, Kanker town and in Rajnandgaon city, polling began at a brisk pace and in several booths long queues were seen even before ballotting started.
In Rajnandgaon seat, where BJP candidate and Chief Minister Raman Singh is contesting, women and youth were seen in large numbers lining up at polling booths.
The polling in rural areas as well as urban areas is expected to pick up as the day progresses.
The Election Commission has thrown a security blanket for the first phase of the polling for 12 seats of Bastar division and six seats of Rajnandgaon district in which a little over 29 lakh voters will exercise their franchise.
The `None of The Above’ (NOTA) option, widely called `Right to Reject’, is also making its debut in India with Chhattisgarh polls Nov 11.