Voting, started for the second and final phase of Chhattisgarh assembly elections amid elaborate security arrangements including more than one lakh personnel, helicopters and drones.
After a promising 76.28 per cent turnout in the 18-seat first phase in Maoist affected areas, the second phase is seeing voting for 72 seats spread across 19 districts.
More than 1.5 crore people are eligible to vote in over 19,000 polling booths, deciding the fates of many high-profile leaders. Polling that started at 8 am will end at 5 pm.
Top Points in this story:
1) Carved out of Madhya Pradesh in 2000, the state is witnessing a three-way battle for the first time with the ruling BJP trying to wrestle it out with the opposition Congress and the Ajit Jogi-Mayawati-led alliance emerging as a formidable third front. The Arvind Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) too has fielded candidates in 66 constituencies.
2) Mr Jogi who ruled Chhattisgarh for the first three years as a Congress Chief Minister, later floated his own outfit and aligned with the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Communist Party of India is seen as a possible kingmaker in a state where the vote share difference between the BJP and the Congress was less than one per cent in 2013.
3) However, the 72-year-old politician, who was defeated by Chief Minister Raman Singh of the BJP in 2003, has denied that he is considering a post-poll alliance with the party.
4) Among the prominent faces contesting in this phase are state Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly TS Singh Deo and former Union Minister Charandas Mahant.
5) For the BJP, the list includes state ministers Brijmohan Agrawal, Rajesh Munat and state party president Dharamlal Kaushik.
6) For the BSP-JCC alliance, Mr Jogi, his wife Renu Jogi and daughter-in-law Richa Jogi are in the running.
7) The high-pitched campaigning saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and other senior party leaders targeted Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and his family and accused the opposition party of misleading people during its 50-year rule in the country.
8) “We are expecting a pro-incumbency vote in the second phase also and people will come out in huge numbers this time also to vote for the BJP. We will definitely coming back to power for the record fourth-time in a row,” Chief Minister Raman Singh told .
9) The Congress countered the offensive with party chief Rahul Gandhi’s attack over corruption, citing the Rafale fighter jet deal. The party also raised farmers’ issues during the poll campaign and promised them a loan waiver, bonus on paddy procurement and setting up food processing units if it wins the election.
10) The votes will be counted on December 11. The results of four other states where assembly elections are being held Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Rajasthan will be declared the same day.>