LS polls: Over 55 pc polling till 3pm in Chhattisgarh

Initially, a low turnout was witnessed at the polling booths, but as the voting progressed, people came out in large numbers to exercise their franchise, despite the scorching heat, an election official said. AFP File photo

The voter turnout in Chhattisgarh was 55.29 per cent till 3 pm on Tuesday for seven seats of during the third phase of Lok Sabha elections.

Initially, a low turnout was witnessed at the polling booths, but as the voting progressed, people came out in large numbers to exercise their franchise, despite the scorching heat, an election official said.

"Around 55.29 per cent voting has been recorded till 3 pm. It was around 30 per cent till noon," a state election official said.

Voting was underway in Raipur, Durg, Bilaspur, Korba, Janjgir-Champa (SC), Surguja (ST) and Raigarh (ST) amid tight security.

Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Ramvichar Netam, former Assembly speaker Gaurishankar Agrawal and other leaders cast their votes in the state.

In many places, newly married couples, in wedding attire, reached polling booths to exercise their franchise, the poll official said.

As many as 123 candidates are in the fray in the seven seats where the main fight is between the ruling Congress and the BJP, which lost power in last year's state Assembly polls.

Altogether 1,27,13,816 voters, including 64,16,252 men, 62,96,992 women and 572 members of the third gender, are eligible to exercise their franchise for which a total 15,408 polling booths have been set up, the official said.

Raipur and Bilaspur seats have the maximum number of candidates (25), followed by Durg-21, Jangir-Champa - 15, Raigarh -14, Korba-13 and Surguja-10.

Around 60,000 security personnel, including paramilitary and state forces, have been deployed in the state for smooth conduct of voting.

In 2004, 2009 and 2014 Lok Sabha polls held after the formation of Chhattisgarh, the BJP won 10 out of the 11 seats every time.

This time, the Congress, buoyed by its victory in the Assembly elections last year, is hoping to improve its tally in the state.

Voting for the 11 Lok Sabha seats in the state was scheduled in three phases.

The Naxal-hit Bastar (ST) constituency went to polls in the first phase on April 11, while voting in three other seats - Rajanandgaon, Kanker (ST) and Mahasamund - was held in the second phase on April 18.

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