On November 7th, the first phase of elections commenced. The key contenders in this round, featuring 20 seats, including several in the Naxal-affected Bastar division, are the BJP and Congress. The state is presently under the governance of the Congress, led by Bhupesh Baghel, and the party secured most of these seats in the previous election.
Chhattisgarh Assembly Elections 2023
During this initial phase of voting, 223 candidates are vying for victory, including 25 women. A total of 5,304 polling booths have been established to accommodate approximately 40.78 lakh voters. Out of the 20 seats, 12 are reserved for Scheduled Tribes, and one is reserved for the Scheduled Caste category. Among these, the Rajnandgaon constituency boasts the highest number of candidates, with 29 individuals contesting, while the Chitrakot and Dantewada seats have the lowest participation with seven candidates each.
Information provided by the Chhattisgarh Chief Electoral Officer’s office indicates that 25,429 polling personnel have been deployed for the initial phase of the polls. Officials have informed that around 60,000 security personnel, including 40,000 from Central Armed Police Forces, have been stationed to ensure the smooth conduct of the election in the 12 constituencies within the Naxal-affected Bastar division. Reports from Sukma police reveal that Naxals fired at DRG personnel who were deployed approximately 2 kilometers away from the Banda polling station earlier in the day. Security forces retaliated, and the Naxal firing ceased after 10 minutes. Thankfully, all the personnel are safe, and the voting process is continuing.
During a public gathering in Bishrampur, Surajpur, Prime Minister Modi voiced concerns about the upsurge in human trafficking and the illicit drug trade in the Surguja division of Chhattisgarh under the governance of the Congress party. He pointed out that criminal activities were on the rise, posing a significant threat to the safety and well-being of sisters and daughters in the region, with reports of several girls from tribal families going missing. The Prime Minister also criticized Congress leaders for their apparent inability to effectively address these pressing issues. Addressing a rally in Surajpur, Chhattisgarh, PM Modi reiterated that the Congress government had faltered in its efforts to combat Naxalism effectively within the state. He expressed the belief that whenever the Congress came to power, it seemed to embolden terrorists and Naxalites, leading to a surge in security challenges. PM Modi further lamented the Congress government’s failure to control the escalating Naxal violence, citing instances where BJP workers had been abducted, and one of them tragically lost their life.