Polling begins in Naxal belt of Chhattisgarh, Mizoram

Polling begins in Naxal belt of Chhattisgarh, Mizoram

November 7, 2023

New Delhi: Chhattisgarh and Mizoram are casting their votes today to choose their next Government. This marks the first phase of polling in Chhattisgarh, where 20 out of the 90 Assembly seats are up for voting.

As of 1.30 pm, the voter turnout in Chhattisgarh stood at 44.55 percent, while in Mizoram, it was 32.68 percent. Notably, several of the 20 seats in Chhattisgarh are in the Naxal-affected Bastar division, where polling commenced at 7 am. Mizoram, on the other hand, has set up polling booths as more than 8.57 lakh voters prepare to decide the electoral fate of 174 candidates.

The counting of votes in both States will be taken up on Dec. 3, along with Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana.

While the polls in Mizoram and the first phase of Chhattisgarh are taking place today, the second phase of Chhattisgarh elections will be held on Nov. 17.

Madhya Pradesh is set to vote on Nov. 17, Rajasthan on Nov. 23 and Telangana on Nov. 30. These Assembly polls in five States are being viewed as a semi-final ahead of the 2024 general election.

This morning, there were reports of Naxal activity in Chhattisgarh, with an exchange of fire between Naxals and security personnel deployed around 2 kilometres from the Banda Polling Station. A CRPF CoBRA personnel was injured in a blast triggered by Maoists in the Tondamarka area of Chhattisgarh’s Sukma. In Mizoram, Chief Minister Zoramthanga was unable to cast his vote due to a malfunctioning electronic voting machine. He stated that he would cast his vote later in the day.

The ruling Congress in Chhattisgarh is placing its hopes on Bhupesh Baghel, credited with reviving the party’s State unit after it was decimated in a Maoist attack in 2013. The BJP, following its traditional approach, has not projected a Chief Ministerial candidate and is basing its campaign on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image.

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However, the Congress campaign was hit by allegations of corruption against the CM. Investigations into an illegal betting app revealed that around Rs. 508 crore had been paid by its promoters to Bhupesh Baghel, with regular payments made in the past.

In Mizoram, the Mizo National Front, which came to power in alliance with the BJP in 2018, ending the 10-year rule of Congress’s iconic CM Lal Thanhawla, is seeking another term. In the State’s traditional binary politics, the ruling party typically gets two terms before being voted out.


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