Repolling held in 22 booths in M'rashtra


Voting in these booths did not take place on October 13 as the polling staff could not reach the respective stations on time due to obstacles put up by the Naxal on the route. The extremists had dug up roads and placed logs on the road on that day. The 22 polling stations included seven in Armouri Assembly constituency, two in Gadchiroli and 13 in Aheri constituency. The Naxals opened fire at Kotmi polling station in the district after the commencement of voting in the morning. The security forces retaliated and the encounter lasted for almost half an hour. However, there were no casualties on either side, the state police control here said. Kotmi was among the 13 polling stations in Aheri tahsil where repolling was ordered.

Meanwhile, the polling staff, who had been surrounded by Naxals in Khamtala village in the district on Tuesday, were rescued by commandos on Wednesday and airlifted to Nagpur in IAF choppers. They were held hostage for seven hours by around a hundred Maoists.

Cong woos rebels

Meanwhile, in Mumbai, the top leadership of both the Sena-BJP and the Congress was busy drawing plans and strategies after three exit polls indicated a Congress-NCP victory in the elections, while one poll favoured the Opposition. The Sena-BJP leaders are making desperate efforts to attain the half-way mark of 145 seats in the House of 288 members, without showing any sign of defeat.

In fact, Sena working president Uddhav Thackeray expressed gratitude to the people for supporting the combine in the elections. The combine is mainly banking on NCP rebels and smaller parties like PWP, which may support the saffron alliance.

At a meeting, the Sena and the BJP leaders decided to go all out to win over the independents and smaller parties to secure majority.

On its part, the Congress leadership has begun contacting the rebels whose chances of winning the elections appear bright. The exit polls have already put the Congress in the top position, and along with the NCP, the coalition leaders feel they need only a handful of members to gain majority.

There’s a tussle going on in the Congress for the chief ministership. While the incumbent Ashok Chavan wants to retain his chair, many Congressmen want the Union heavy industries minister Vilasrao Deshmukh back in the saddle.

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