3rd phase records voting of Over 71 %
   Date :08-May-2024

3rd phase records voting 
Staff Reporter
Voter turnout exceeded over 67 percent in the third phase of Lok Sabha polling across the seven constituencies of State on Tuesday. The voting was held smoothly, with heightened enthusiasm among voters who flocked to the 15,701 polling stations. Although minor disputes occurred at some locations, overall, the polling remained relatively peaceful. In Raipur, Congress candidate Vikas Upadhyay staged a protest in front of Saraswati School Purani Basti alleging violation of the model code of conduct by the BJP, which he claimed campaigned near polling booths under the guise of social organizations. Vikas Upadhyay alleged that the BJP tried to woo voters through Anganwadi workers and health workers on the pretext of distributing lemon sherbet. On the intervention of Raipur Collector Dr Gaurav Singh and on his assurance, Congress Upadhyay ended his dharna and the issue was resolved. According to the Election Commission of India, significant turnout percentages were noted across the constituencies, ranging from 66 to 72 percent. In Raipur Lok Sabha seat, over 65.87 percent polling was recorded while Durg and Bilaspur accounted for 72.29 percent polling and 63.95 percent polling respectively.
Likewise, over 65.92 per cent voter turnout was recorded in Janjgir-Champa Lok Sabha constituency, over 78.43 per cent in Raigarh Lok Sabha seat, 70.60 per cent in Korba Lok Sabha seat and 74.17 per cent in Surguja Lok Sabha seat. Polling was held from 7 am to 6 pm. However, observing long queues of voters, the voting process at some polling stations continued even after 6 pm. Despite the challenges posed by malfunctioning Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) at certain polling stations, efforts were made to rectify the issues promptly. Malfunctioning of EVMs occurred in polling station 181 A in Navagaon village and 178 in Rakhi village under Arang assembly constituency of Raipur Lok Sabha seat. Polling began around 1 hour late at 8.08 am while polling began at around 9.15 am over two hours late at polling booth number 178 in Rakhi village. A total of 168 candidates including 142 male candidates and 26 female candidates contested in the third phase.
In the seven Lok Sabha constituencies, a total of 61,664 polling personnel were deployed for 15,701 polling parties. To ensure the integrity of the elections, 202 companies of security forces were stationed. 25 polling stations were classified as vulnerable and 1072 as critical, necessitating the deployment of CAPF personnel along with measures such as webcasting, videography, and micro-observation underscored the commitment to ensuring the integrity of the electoral process. Political parties vied for voter support vigorously, with the BJP and Congress engaging in strategic manoeuvres at polling booths. Meanwhile, measures were taken to mitigate the effects of the heat wave, with provisions made for refreshments, shaded areas, and medical assistance at all polling stations. Talking to The Hitavada, voters expressed diverse motivations, with some prioritizing development and others seeking change through their votes.