Bhilai, Dec 20: A total of 57.76% voters from four different civic bodies of Durg District utilized their franchise to seal the fate of 720 councilor candidates in the election held on December 20. Bypolls were held at Ward Number 5 of Utai Nagar Panchayat which registered a record 84.65% polling.720 candidates were contesting for 171 wards in Bhilai Municipal Corporation, Bhilai Charoda Municipal Corporation, Risali Municipal Corporation, Jamul Municipal Council and bypoll in one ward at Utai Nagar Panchayat. Out of the 720 candidates, 170 are from BJP, 171 from Congress, 14 from BSP and 301 are independent candidates.
Overall the polling was peaceful in the district except a couple of verbal arguments and clash between party workers at few wards. However, there were widespread complaints of bogus voting in different wards.
A BJP candidate from Khursipar clashed with the cops over the same issue. BMC’s Ward 44 BJP candidate Daya Singh clashed with the cops positioned at Polling Booth situated at Nirmala Rani School in Khursipar. He alleged that the supporters of his opponent were conducting bogus voting. He tried to create a scene at the polling booth after which police team intervened. Instead of stepping back, Daya started arguing with the cops. Police team managed to diffuse the tension. It needs to be mentioned here that violent clash had occurred between the BJP and Congress party workers at this ward on Sunday evening also.
Later in the evening, tense situation prevailed at Radha Krishna Mandir Ward (47) of Khursipar when two groups clashed over the issue of bogus voting. Ten minutes before the conclusion of voting, the candidates as well as their supporters started blaming each-other for conducting bogus voting. Soon they entered into the polling booth and created a scene. Police team immediately reached the spot and brought the situation under control. Verbal clash between contestants or their supporters was witnessed in almost every area.
At Ward 51 (Sector 1) of Bhilai Municipal Corporation, an independent candidate entered into the polling centre and started urging the people to vote in his support. Other candidates immediately raised objection after which police team reached the spot and asked the candidate to leave the polling booth. He was instructed to stay 100 meters away from the booth. The independent candidate Firoz Khan too alleged that bogus voting was being conducted in the booth. The officials negotiated with him and convinced that the polling is being conducted in a transparent manner in presence of the agents of all the contestants.
Jamul records highest voter turnout
Among the four civic bodies of the district, Jamul Municipal Council recorded highest voter turnout of 73.10 percentage. A total of 16757 voters including 8240 men and 8336 women cast their votes. Percentage of male voters was 72.31 while that of females was 73.94.
Second highest voting was recorded in Bhilai Charoda Municipal Corporation which witnessed 64.17% turnout. The percentage of male voters was 64.43 while that of female voters was 63.92. A total of 56598 voters including 28273 men and 28325 women turned out to exercise their franchise.
Third highest polling was recorded at Risali Municipal Corporation at 62.14% including 63.04% men and 61.23% women. A total of 58477 voters including 29811 men; 28665 women and one third gender cast their votes.
Voting recorded in Bhilai Municipal Corporation, which is the largest civic body of the district in terms of population was 62.19%. Till 17:00 hrs the voting percentage was 54.49% with 54.94% men and 54.04% women casting their votes in this civic body. A total of 222133 voters including 113218 men, 108908 women and 7 third gender had cast their votes till then.
In the bypolls of Utai Nagar Panchayat, the polling percentage was 84.65 with 84.97% men and 84.34% women. 331 voters cast their votes including 164 men and 167 women.
Ballot Boxes sealed and stored, tight security arrangement
Result of the civic body polls in Bhilai Municipal Corporation, Bhilai Charoda Municipal Corporation, Risali Municipal Corporation, Jamul Municipal Council and Utai Nagar Panchayat election is to be announced on December 23. The ballot boxes used during the elections held on December 20 were sealed and stored in the presence of Returning Officers and kept in the strong rooms at Kalyan College in Sector-7 for Bhilai Municipal Corporation, Tanki Maroda School for Risali Corporation, Dr Khubchand Baghel College for Bhilai-Charoda Corporation, Higher Secondary School Jamul for Jamul Municipal Council and Danveer Tularam College for Utai where counting will be held on December 23. Returning Officers were present at the time of sealing of strong rooms. Candidates and cadres from political parties were also present during the sealing. Tight security arrangements have been at the counting venues. Top administrative and police officers are maintaining a close eye on the security arrangements at the strong rooms.
Cops remained on toes to ensure peaceful voting
Durg Police had made tight security arrangements to conduct the urban body elections peacefully in the district. The entire force including the top cops remained on toes throughout the day for maintaining law and order at the polling booths and other sensitive places. The police teams were seen responding quickly on receiving information about disputes at the polling booths.
A total of 2190 police personnel were positioned for the urban body elections. Sensitive / hyper sensitive booths were monitored separately through 55 patrolling parties and 26 AD Squads.
For ensuring peaceful polling, 2190 personnel were positioned at 733 booths of the district. The security personnel included District Police Force, Home Guards, Forest Guards, Chhattisgarh Armed Forces, Kotwars and men from other districts.
Inspector General of Police (Durg Range) OP Pal and Senior Superintendent of Police (Durg) Badri Narayan Meena were monitoring the entire district to ensure that there is no disturbance in elections. The cops worked as per the plan prepared for the security arrangements at all the booths including sensitive and hyper sensitive booths. 55 Additional patrolling parties and 26 AD Squads maintained vigil and were all set to take immediate action in case of any dispute. Photography / videography was done during the elections in the booths. Apart from this, intensive patrolling was done continuously.
The police personnel on duty remained in touch with each other and immediately communicated information about the law and order threats to their concerned senior officer. Enhanced communication ensured quick arrival of additional police force at places that witnessed disputes.