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Chhattisgarh goes to polls today amid high security

Kondagaon/Raipur, November 10
Chief Minister Raman Singh and his three ministers are among the candidates whose fate will be decided tomorrow when 18 Assembly constituencies in the worst Naxal-hit regions of Bastar and Rajnandgaon go to polls amid heavy security in the first phase in Chhattisgarh.

As many as 143 candidates are contesting from 12 constituencies in Bastar division and six constituencies of Rajnandgaon district with an electorate of 29,33,200 in the first of the two-phase polls to the 90-member Assembly in the state where BJP government led by Raman Singh is trying for a hat-trick against the Congress.

Out of the 18 seats, the BJP had won 15 while the Congress had three in the last election. Barely six months ago, Naxals had ambushed a convoy of Congress leaders in Bastar, killing 27 persons and virtually wiping out the entire party leadership, including state Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel, his son Dinesh, tribal leader Mahendra Karma who had founded the Salwa Judum and former legislator Uday Mudliyar. Senior leader Vidya Charan Shukla, 84, succumbed to his injuries two weeks later.

Police personnel are keeping a hawk eye in the state and along its borders with Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. PTI

2 jawans hurt in poll-eve blast

Two ITBP jawans were injured in an IED blast triggered by Naxals in the Maoist-hit Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh on the eve of the first phase of Assembly elections, police said. The polling party was on its way to Baldongri booth when Naxals set off a low-intensity IED blast near a rivulet, leaving two ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) personnel injured, he said.

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