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Chhattisgarh Assembly Elections 2018: High-voltage election campaign dominated by Naxal issue ends, all eyes on Nov 12 for first phase of polls Read In Hindi

While Chhattisgarh has traditionally seen a straight fight between the BJP and the Congress, this time a third front comprising Ajit Jogi's Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J), Mayawati's BSP and the CPI is also in the fray.

Written by: India TV News Desk, Raipur [ Updated: November 11, 2018 0:00 IST ]
While Chhattisgarh has traditionally seen a straight fight

While Chhattisgarh has traditionally seen a straight fight between the BJP and the Congress, this time a third front comprising Ajit Jogi's Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J), Mayawati's BSP and the CPI is also in the fray.

The high-voltage election campaign in the poll-bound state of Chhattisgarh came to an end on Saturday. Both the BJP and Congress did not leave any stones unturned to woo the voters. While the BJP, which has won three consecutive elections in the state roped in party bigwigs including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party chief Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Congress pitched in its chief Rahul Gandhi to seek votes for respective parties.
 
Addressing his campaign rally on Friday, PM Modi lashed out at the Congress, accusing it of backing "urban Naxals" who, he said, were "remote-controlling" the Maoist insurgency in this region and ruining the lives of poor tribals. 
 
In its counter-attack, the Congress alleged that it was an attempt to hide the "failure" of the BJP government in combating Naxalism and bringing development to the state. The opposition party also promised farm loan waiver and other sops like 35 kgs of rice every month for very family at Re 1 only if it wins the election.
 
A total of 190 candidates, including Chief Minister Raman Singh from Rajnandgaon, are contesting in this phase. The BJP had lost 12 of these 18 seats in the last polls in 2013.
 
WATCH: IndiaTV-CNX Opinion Poll on Chhattisgarh Assembly Elections
 
Rahul Gandhi, who is hoping to turn the tables this time addressed held five campaign rallies and even conducted a road show in Chief Minister Raman Singh's constituency, Rajnandgaon.
 
Launching a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi alleged both of them of not doing anything without seeking permission of their industrialist friends.
 
Days before the first-phase of voting in Chhattisgarh on November 12, Gandhi also accused Modi and Singh of making "false" and "unfulfilled" promises.
 
 
Targeting PM Modi over the Rafale fighter jet deal, the Congress scion alleged that PM Modi changed the aircraft deal negotiated by the UPA government to benefit his industrialist friend.
 

ALSO READ | Chhattisgarh Polls: On last of campaigning, Rahul Gandhi targets Modi over Rafale, says PM signed jet deal to favour 'industrialist friend'

Earlier on Friday, Rahul Gandhi also released his party's manifesto ahead of the polls. In the manifesto, named as "People's Manifesto", the Congress has promised immediate loan waivers within 10 days of being voted to power. The party has also promised better healthcare facilities and a safer society for women in Chhattisgarh.
 
On the other hand, BJP chief Amit Shah on Saturday released his party's manifesto for the upcoming elections. Launching a scathing attack at Congress, Shah said that  a party that sees revolution in Naxalism can do no good for Chhattisgarh. Heaping praise on the Raman Singh government, Shah said that hhattisgarh was the first state to have a legislation on skill development. 
 

ALSO READ | Chhattisgarh Assembly Elections 2018: Amit Shah releases BJP manifesto, says 'Maoist-sympathiser' Congress can never do welfare of state 

An estimated 31,79,520 voters, including 16,21,839 male, 15,57,592 female and 89 of third-gender, are eligible to vote. As many as 4,336 polling booths have been set up for this phase.
 
While Chhattisgarh has traditionally seen a straight fight between the BJP and the Congress, this time a third front comprising Ajit Jogi's Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J), Mayawati's BSP and the CPI is also in the fray.
 
Campaignning ended at 3 pm in 10 constituencies- Mohla-Manpur, Antagarh, Bhanupratappur, Kanker, Keshkal, Kondagaon, Narayanpur, Dantewada, Bijapur and Konta, where Naxal menace is rampant, and the polling time there will be from from 7 am to 3 pm. 
 
In the rest of the constituencies- Khairgarh, Dongargarh, Rajnandgaon, Dongargaon. Khujji, Bastar, Jagdalpur and Chitrakot, the campaigning ended at 5 pm and the polling time will be from 8 am to 5pm , a statement issued by the office of Chief Electoral Officer said.
 
Naxal violence ahead of Assembly elections
 
The Naxalites have called for a boycott of polls in the state and have executed half a dozen attacks in last 15 days, three of them major ones which left 13 people dead including a cameraperson of national broadcaster Doordarshan who was covering the election campaign.
 
Three police personnel, besides the DD cameraman, were killed in the Maoist attack in Aranpur area of Dantewada on on October 30.
 
Before that on October 27, four CRPF personnel, belonging to 168th battalion were killed and two others injured after Maoists blew up their bullet proof bunker vehicle in Awapalli area of Bijapur district. 
 
On November 8, four civilians and a CISF jawan were killed when Naxals detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district. 
 
Polling parties are being sent to their destination amid tight security, election authorities said.
 
Security arrangements
 
Helicopters have been pressed into service for air-lifting EVMs, polling personnel and polling materials to polling stations in sensitive remote areas, a senior police official said adding that chopper services will be used for around 200 polling booths.
 
A keenly-watched constituency is Rajnandgaon, where Chief Minister Raman Singh of the ruling BJP is pitted against Congress candidate Karuna Shukla, niece of former prime minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
 
The highest number of 30 candidates will lock horns in this constituency, while the lowest number of five nominees each will fight it out in Bastar and Kondagaon.
 

WATCH THIS SPACE FOR COMPLETE COVERAGE OF CHHATTISGARH ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS 2018

 
The ruling BJP has reposed its faith on old faces and fielded two incumbent ministers Mahesh Gagda (Bijapur), Kedar Kashyap (Narayanpur) and sitting MLAs- Santosh Bafna (Jagdalpur), Sarojani Banjare (Dongargarh).
 
Congress has renominated its nine sitting MLAs Manoj Singh Mandavi (Bhanupratappur), Mohan Lal Markam (Kondagaon), Lakheshwar Baghel (Bastar), Deepak Kumar Baij (Chitrakot), Devati Karma (Dantewada), Kawasi Lakhma (Konta), Girwar Janghel (Khairagarh) and Daleshwar Sahu (Dongargaon).
 
Of the 18 seats going to poll in the first phase, 12 are reserved for Scheduled Tribe (ST) while one for Scheduled Caste (SC) category.  
 
The remaining 72 constituencies will go to polls on November 20. The counting of the votes will be held on December 11.
 
In the last Assembly polls, of the total 90 seats, the BJP had won 49 seats, Congress 39, BSP 1 and independent 1. 

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