Chhattisgarh polls highlights: 71.93% turnout; Raman Singh predicts BJP win

Anti-clockwise: BJP's Raman Singh, Janata Congress Chhattisgarh's Ajit Jogi and Congress' Bhupesh Baghel
Chhattisgarh Election LIVE: Polling for the second and final phase of Chhattisgarh Assembly elections, with voting taking place in 72 constituencies spread across 19 districts, officially ended on Tuesday. Around 71.93 per cent voter turnout was recorded till 6 pm, an official said.    

The voting time ended at 5 pm, but voters were still standing in the queues, waiting for their turn at several polling booths across the state. The voting percentage is, therefore, likely to rise. 

A total of 1,079 candidates, including 119 women, are contesting in 72 constituencies of the state with an electorate of 15,400,596.  

This was the last of the two-phase polls to the 90-member Assembly, where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been in power for the last 15 years.

Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha said the polling percentage is likely to rise further as a number of people were still in the queue for voting. He said the polling percentage for this phase is slightly higher than that recorded during 2013 which was 71.13 per cent.

The EC said with Tuesday's polling percentage the total average turnout for Chhattisgarh has been 74.17 per cent, which may go up further. During the first phase of voting on November 12 for 18 seats in the Naxal-affected areas of the state, a total of 76.42 per cent polling was recorded. 

The time of polling was from 8 am to 5 pm, but in two polling booths -- Amamora (booth no 72) and Modh (no 76) in Bindranavgarh constituency (Gariaband district) -- voting was held from 7 am to 3 pm due to Naxal threats, the official said.

There were reports of technical snags in EVMs at some places, which delayed the polling process, he said.

Chief Minister Raman Singh, his wife Veena Singh and son Abhishek Singh, a BJP MP from Rajnandaon district, voted in Kawardha constituency.

State ministers, including Brijmohan Agrawal, Rajesh Munat and Premparkash Pandey, besides State Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel and Leader of Opposition TS Singhdeo, exercised their franchise in their respective areas.

In the second phase of polling, extra vigil is being maintained in districts including Gariaband, Dhamtari, Mahasamund, Kabirdham, Jashpur and Balrampur, which are Naxal-affected areas, the official said. 

The counting of votes will be held on December 11. 

7:23 PM IST A turnout of 71.93 per cent was recorded till 6 PM in the second phase of Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh. 

6:46 PM IST The voting time ended at 5 pm, but voters were still standing in the queues, waiting for their turn at several polling booths across the state. The voting percentage is, therefore, likely to rise. 

6:46 PM IST  number of candidates are in Raipur City South constituency, and at six, the least number of candidates are in  seat. Of the 72 seats, 17 are reserved for Scheduled Tribes and nine for Scheduled Castes. 

6:45 PM IST The Election Commission has removed a presiding officer and a polling staff of different polling booths in Marwahi constituency of Bilaspur district, after receiving complaints against them.   Bilaspur Collector P Dayanand removed presiding officer of Semra polling booth Surendra Kumar Mandavi, and a polling staff of Dhanauli polling station Kamal Kishore Tiwari after getting complaints against them by concerned polling agents, a statement issued by poll officials said.   "An inquiry has been ordered against Mandavi and Tiwari and they have been ousted from the polling duty," it said. 

6:12 PM IST EVMs & VVPATs being sealed at polling station in Baloda Bazar's Simga after the second phase of voting for #ChhattisgarhElections2018 concludes. Voting still underway at the polling booths where voters are in the queue pic.twitter.com/RYR0CAoZgu — ANI (@ANI) November 20, 2018

5:53 PM IST Polling for the second and final phase of Chhattisgarh Assembly elections, with voting taking place in 72 constituencies spread across 19 districts, officially ended on Tuesday. 

5:43 PM IST About 64.8 per cent voter turnout recorded till 5 pm in the second phase of voting. 64.8 % voter turnout recorded till 5 PM in the second phase of #ChhattisgarhAssemblyElections pic.twitter.com/3MlWJZbQCX — ANI (@ANI) November 20, 2018

5:36 PM IST Voters have taken up the challenge of ensuring a free and fair election in Naxal-hit Chhattisgarh   In the 2013 state polls, not a single vote was cast in Bhejji polling booth due to a boycott call by Naxals.   Interestingly, the rebels had been more vocal this time and had triggered a series of ugly violence before polling to unleash a wave of terror. But it did not deter Sudha Tati, who along with her other relatives, defied the call and exercised her franchise. And so did more than half the population of the constituency that had an infamous past of deadly Naxal attacks. (Read more here)  

5:20 PM IST Chhattisgarh MLAs rake in the moolah, says study   Citing the election affidavits of the 69 re-contesting MLAs in the Chhattisgarh polls, the Association for Democratic Reform (ADR) said their declared average assets have risen to Rs 122.9 million from Rs 109.2 million, declared in 2013. (Read more here)  

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A turnout of 71.93 per cent was recorded till 6 PM in the second phase of Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh. 
The voting time ended at 5 pm, but voters were still standing in the queues, waiting for their turn at several polling booths across the state. The voting percentage is, therefore, likely to rise. 
 number of candidates are in Raipur City South constituency, and at six, the least number of candidates are in  seat. Of the 72 seats, 17 are reserved for Scheduled Tribes and nine for Scheduled Castes. 
The Election Commission has removed a presiding officer and a polling staff of different polling booths in Marwahi constituency of Bilaspur district, after receiving complaints against them.
 
Bilaspur Collector P Dayanand removed presiding officer of Semra polling booth Surendra Kumar Mandavi, and a polling staff of Dhanauli polling station Kamal Kishore Tiwari after getting complaints against them by concerned polling agents, a statement issued by poll officials said.
 
"An inquiry has been ordered against Mandavi and Tiwari and they have been ousted from the polling duty," it said. 

Polling for the second and final phase of Chhattisgarh Assembly elections, with voting taking place in 72 constituencies spread across 19 districts, officially ended on Tuesday. 

About 64.8 per cent voter turnout recorded till 5 pm in the second phase of voting.


Voters have taken up the challenge of ensuring a free and fair election in Naxal-hit Chhattisgarh
 
In the 2013 state polls, not a single vote was cast in Bhejji polling booth due to a boycott call by Naxals.
 
Interestingly, the rebels had been more vocal this time and had triggered a series of ugly violence before polling to unleash a wave of terror. But it did not deter Sudha Tati, who along with her other relatives, defied the call and exercised her franchise. And so did more than half the population of the constituency that had an infamous past of deadly Naxal attacks. (Read more here)  
Chhattisgarh MLAs rake in the moolah, says study
 
Citing the election affidavits of the 69 re-contesting MLAs in the Chhattisgarh polls, the Association for Democratic Reform (ADR) said their declared average assets have risen to Rs 122.9 million from Rs 109.2 million, declared in 2013. (Read more here)  
Chhattisgarh BJP hands out free phones to win votes

In the state of Chhattisgarh, Chief Minister Raman Singh has promised a smartphone in every home -— and he has used the government-issued devices to reach voters as he campaigned in legislative elections, reported the New York Times on Monday. (Read more here

In the second phase of voting, 58.47 per cent turnout recorded till 4 pm.


The contenders
 
  • A total of 1,079 candidates are in the fray
  • Both the Congress and the BJP are contesting all the 72 seats
  • The Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is in the fray for 25 seats and its ally and former Chief Minister Jogi's Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (J) in 46 seats
  • The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has fielded candidates in 66 constituencies
The Congress demanded suspension and arrest of BJP candidate Siddhnath Paikra in Samri in Balrampur district for "distributing money" to voters. 
The EC has rejected the allegations of widespread malfunctioning of the voting machines and asserted that the faulty machines were promptly replaced without any disruption to the voting process. "At the 19,336 polling stations being used in second phase using 25,640 Ballot Units (BUs), 19,336 Control Units (CUs) and 19,336 VVPATs, only 47 BUs, 37 CUs and 131 VVPATs have needed replacement during the polls. Given sufficient reserves available, the said replacements were handled swiftly by the local polling personnel," EC Spokesperson Sheyphali Sharan said. 
From first-time voters to centenarians, people from all walks of life queued up to vote as the day progressed. Among the oldest to vote were 106-year-old Samudri Patel from Baikunthpur in Korea district and 102-year-old Raj Kunwar from Boriyakala in Raipur district. 
EVMs malfunctioned in several booths across Dhamtari, Jashpur, Raipur, Ambikapur and Korba constituencies, with the Congress accusing the state's ruling BJP of indulging in "electoral malpractices" and "attempting to disrupt" the poll process. 
The highest turnout was recorded in Bhatgaon at 54.30 per cent followed by Jashpur at 51.20 per cent. It was lowest in Raipur City North with 36.40 per cent and Raipur City South at 39.70 per cent. 
The fate of 10 ministers, including Brijmohan Agrawal (Raipur South), Amar Agrawal (Bilaspur) and Rajesh Munat (Raipur West), among others, is also at stake in the second phase of polling. 
Ajit Jogi is contesting from Marwahi, his wife, Renu Jogi, from Konta, and his daughter-in-law, Richa Jogi, from Akaltara on BSP ticket. Jogi's new political outfit, the Janata Congress Chhattisgarh, is contesting the polls in alliance with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party. 
Jogi's entire family, except his son, Amit Jogi, are contesting the crucial Assembly polls in Chhattisgarh and they say their main aim is to ensure the defeat of both the BJP and the Congress in the state.  
Third force in the elections this time
 
While Raman Singh has been the chief minister for 15 years in the state's 18-year history, traditionally the main challenger for the BJP has been the Congress. However, there is a third force in the elections this time in the form of former chief minister Ajit Jogi's alliance with Dalit leader Mayawati.  
Fate of many star candidates to be sealed on Tuesday

From former chief minister Ajit Jogi to his two family members -- IAS-turned-politician O P Choudhry and Sarguja's former royal T S Singhdeo -- there are many high-profile candidates whose fate would be sealed on Tuesday in the second phase of polling in this tribal-dominated state.  
When asked to comment on the Congress leaders approaching Election Commission about alleged EVM tampering by the BJP, the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister stated, "They (Congress) carry out such moves in order to find an excuse for being defeated. This is their old strategy...." 

BJP will get 65-plus seats: Raman Singh
 
Talking to reporters, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh stated, "I can see that the people of Chhattisgarh have come out in large number to exercise their franchise despite residing in rural and outskirts areas. After looking at the mood of the people, I am sure that BJP will again win and would get 65 plus seats. The development of the region has taken place from the time BJP has come to power and we are sure that we will emerge victorious. This time during the first phase of voting even Naxal-hit areas such Bastar the voter turn out was 80 per cent to 82 per cent." (Read more here
Raman Singh casts vote, assures BJP's victory 

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh on Tuesday cast his vote for the Assembly elections at a poll booth situated in Kawardha district. After getting inked, Singh spoke to the media and stated that he was certain that BJP would emerge victorious by bagging the majority of votes. 
45.02 % voting recorded till 3:00 PM in the second phase of voting.
Earlier in the week, PM Modi hit out at the Nehru-Gandhi family and claimed that Dailt leader Sitaram Kesri was not allowed to complete his term as Congress president and was "thrown out of office" to make way for Sonia Gandhi.
Earlier in the week, PM Modi hit out at the Nehru-Gandhi family and claimed that Dailt leader Sitaram Kesri was not allowed to complete his term as Congress president and was "thrown out of office" to make way for Sonia Gandhi.
Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister and Vidisha MP Sushma Swaraj made a surprising annoucement. She said, "It is the party which decides, but I have made up my mind not to contest next elections."
Chhattisgarh Assembly Election 2018

The maximum number of candidates are in Raipur City South constituency (46), and the least number of six candidates are in Bindranavagarh seat.
There were reports of technical snag in electronic voting machines (EVMs) at some places and corrective measures were taken.
The time of polling is from 8 am-5 pm, but in two polling booths -- Amamora (booth No. 72) and Modh (No.76) in Bindranavgarh constituency (Gariaband district) -- voting is being held from 7 am-3 pm due to the threat posed by Naxals, the official said.
Earlier, polling began on a slow note in many constituencies and gradually picked up momentum with queues of voters being seen at several polling booths.
Madhya Pradesh does not deserve a government which never thinks about the state's welfare: PM Modi
Chief Minister Raman Singh casts his vote at Kawardha polling booth.
Addressing a poll rally here for the November 28 Assembly elections, Modi also said his government has so far disbursed loans to 140 million people, "that too without guarantee", under the ambitious Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana.
While addressing a rally in Madhya Pradesh, Modi said he used the "bitter medicine" of demonetisation to bring back money into banking system and to give "proper treatment to deep-rooted corruption system" in the country.
25% voting recorded
Security arrangement for Chhattisgarh elections
 
Around 600 companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed to keep an eye on the anti-democratic elements in the state.
Selfie-zone for youth
 
The Election Commission has set up a Voter Selfie Zone at each polling booth to encourage young minds to cast their votes.
Special arrangement to encourage women voters
 
In an attempt to encourage women voters, the Election Commission has set up 188 Sangwari polling booths in scores of constituencies to encourage females to cast their votes. Interestingly, these booths will be operated by all-female staff.
Election Commission Orders Removal Of Chhattisgarh Public Relations Chief
 
Toppo was allegedly caught on tape asking a journalist to film a video of Congress members abusing one of their senior leaders. The official is allegedly heard saying that he is willing to spend some money for the sting video.
The commission has directed that S Rajesh Toppo, secretary and commissioner of public relations in the state government, be transferred from his present post "in context of alleged statements made by him", a spokesperson said.
 
"The commission observed that such statements indicate partisan behaviour apart from use of uncivilised language unbecoming of a senior civil servant," the spokesperson said.
Few days ahead of Chhattisgarh elections, the Election Commission told the State government to transfer one of its senior officials who was allegedly caught on tape offering money for sting operation against opposition Congress leaders in the poll-bound state.
Remember the time when Congress was in power here in Madhya Pradesh, what was the condition of people? Madhya Pradesh does not deserve a government which never thinks about the state's welfare: PM Narendra Modi in Jhabua.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is addressing a rally in Madhya Pradesh.
Ajit Jogi is contesting from Marwahi, his wife Renu Jogi from Konta and his daughter-in-law, Richa Jogi from Akaltara on BSP ticket. Jogi's new political outfit, Janata Congress Chhattisgarh is contesting polls in alliance with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party. 
Former chief minister Ajit Jogi and his two family members, IAS-turned-politician O P Choudhry and Sarguja's former royal T S Singhdeo -- there are many high-profile candidates whose fate would be sealed today.
Voting for the second and final phase of the Chhattisgarh Assembly polls began on a slow note on Tuesday with 12.54 per cent of the electorate exercising their franchise in the first two hours, an official said.

The counting of votes will be held on December 11.
A delegation of Congress leaders led by PL Punia meet the Election Commission in Delhi over alleging attempts to misuse and tamper EVMs.
 
Taking a dig at Congress President Rahul Gandhi, BJP President Amit Shah on Monday said that the opposition leader was afflicted with "Modiphobia" and that is why he takes Prime Minister Narendra Modi's name 44 times in his 22 minute election speech.
 
"Rahul Gandhi nowadays is doing many election rallies but in these rallies he takes name of Narendra Modi 44 times in his 22 minute election speech. I am not able to understand whether he is campaigning for Narendra Modi and BJP or Congress. It seems he was afflicted with Modiphobia. Wherever he goes he keeps saying Modi-Modi," Shah said.
Chhattisgarh Elections 2018: PM Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Shivraj Singh Chouhan tweet
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan have all tweeted in Hindi urging voters to vote in the second phase of the Chhattisgarh elections.
Key Candidates

The fate of the state Assembly speaker Gaurishankar Agrawal (Kasdol constituency) and 9 ministers- Brijmohan Agrawal (Raipur city south seat), Rajesh Munat (Raipur city west), Amar Agrawal (Bilaspur), Bhaiyyalal Rajwade (Baikunthpur), Ramsevak Paikra (Pratappur), Punnulal Mohile (Mungeli), Prem Prakash Pandey (Bhilai Nagar), Dayaldas Baghel (Nawagarh) and Ajay Chandrakar (Kurud) besides party state president Dharamlal Kaushik (Bilha) will be decided in this phase.
12.54% voting recorded till 10 am



 
Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (J): 32% of the 56 candidates have criminal cases against them
Congress: 28% of the 90 candidates have criminal cases against them
Aam Aadmi Party: 21% of the 83 candidates have criminal cases against them
BSP: 9% of the 34 candidates have criminal cases against them
BJP: 7% of the 90 candidates have criminal cases against them
Independents: 7% of the 556 candidates have criminal cases against them
Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (J)--founded by former chief minister Ajit Jogi--has the most (32%, or 18 of 56) candidates with criminal cases against them.
Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (J) has most candidates with criminal cases
As many as 145 out of 1,256 candidates (12%) contesting the 2018 Chhattisgarh assembly elections analysed have declared criminal cases against themselves and 98 candidates have “serious” criminal cases, according to a report by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), an advocacy.
A total of 1079 candidates are contesting in the 72 constituencies of 19 districts in the state with an electorate of 1,54,00,596.
In a tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi requested voters of the state to participate in large numbers in "the festival of democracy".

Click HERE to read more
Raman Singh, the BJP’s longest-serving chief minister seeks his fourth term.
BJP’s sliding popularity in tribal Chhattisgarh
 
During state elections in 2013, the BJP won 11 of 29 seats reserved for scheduled tribes (STs), eight fewer than in 2008 when it won 19 (of 90 in the state assembly). Among seven constituencies with a tribal population of more than 70%, the BJP won just one seat in 2013, compared to five in 2008.
Facts to know about Chhattisgarh
 
Carved out of Madhya Pradesh in 2001, Chhattisgarh is slightly larger than Greece with a population comparable to Australia. About 44% of its land is forested, under which lie some of India’s richest mineral deposits: Coal, iron ore, dolomite, bauxite, limestone, quartzite and tin.
Why BJP's popularity is sliding in the tribal heartland

In the first phase of its assembly elections on November 12, 2018, Chhattisgarh witnessed a 70% voter turnout in tribal areas. If the second phase registers a similar higher-than-normal turnout on November 20, 2018, it could reflect the discontent over the slow progress of individual tribal land claims--more than half of which have been rejected--and the particular struggle for community claims in the mineral-rich north...Read
In the first phase of its assembly elections on November 12, 2018, Chhattisgarh witnessed a 70% voter turnout in tribal areas.
Around 1.50 lakh security personnel have been deployed across the state to ensure peaceful polling
Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (J) has most candidates with criminal cases (32%), followed by Congress (28%), Aam Aadmi Party (21%), Bahujan Samaj Party (9%), BJP (7%) and independents (7%)
There are 119 women contestants while the maximum number of candidates are in Raipur city south constituency where 46 nominees are in the fray
Chhattisgarh elections 2018: 145 candidates have criminal cases against them, 285 are crorepatis
 
98 have “serious” criminal cases that includes attempt to murder, kidnapping & assault
 
 
Senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily Monday said his party would return to power in Chhattisgarh after a gap of 15 years, riding on a "strong anti-incumbency" wave
Keeping elephants out: In Chhattisgarh's Sarguja division, forest officials are busy feeding elephants so that they don't stray into villages and leave the election process undisturbed 

Read our full report here
 
Of the 19,336 polling booths, web casting facility has been provided in 2,112 booths through which Election Commission of India can monitor those polling stations
This is the last of the two-phase polls to the 90-member Assembly where BJP has been in power for the last 15 years
Chhattisgarh election 2018: A total of 1,079 candidates are contesting in the 72 constituencies of 19 districts in the state with an electorate of 1,54,00,596
Voting begins in 72 constituencies
Chhattisgarh Assembly Election 2018

Voting in all the 72 seats began at 8:00 am today. Among prominent faces in fray are Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel (Patan), Leader of Opposition in the Assembly T.S. Singh Deo (Ambikapur) and former Union Minister Charandas Mahant (Shakti).
 
To know all about the candidates and their constituencies, click HERE
For the Maoist-affected Gariaband, Dhamtari, Mahasamund, Kabirdham, Jashpur and Balrampur districts, extra security arrangements have been made.
Elaborate security arrangements including use of helicopters and drone have been put in place for the polls to take place at over 19,000 polling booths and over a lakh security personnel have been deployed.
Voting begins in Modh and Amaamora.

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