Chhattisgarh Assembly Elections: Residents of Naxal-Affected Bastar Villages to Vote After 40 Years


The upcoming assembly elections in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district hold particular significance, as residents of 40 naxal-affected villages will have the opportunity to vote for the first time in four decades.
Previously, these naxal-affected areas were too perilous to safely conduct polling. However, 40 of these highly affected villages will now have polling stations, marking the first time in 40 years.
A total of 120 polling stations will be reopened in these villages on Saturday. After a Naxalite organization announced an election boycott, the Election Commission has initiated the election process in this region with heightened vigilance.
Over the last five years, more than 60 security force camps have been established in these severely affected Naxal areas. These camps have paved the way for continuous area dominance, making these regions safe enough for the electoral process, according to the police.
Consequently, the Election Commission has initiated the training of polling teams for these areas. Discussing the security forces’ preparations for the upcoming election on November 7 in Bastar, Sundarraj P, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) of Bastar Division, highlighted their dedication to conducting the election in an organized manner.
“As everyone knows, the first phase of the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections will take place on November 7 in all seven districts of the Bastar division. All security arrangements and administrative preparations are in progress. We are doing all the necessary preparations to ensure a systematic election process, and we have full confidence that this time, the election process will proceed smoothly,” IGP Sundarraj said.
Efforts are being made to re-establish some polling stations that were previously closed or relocated due to Naxal-related issues.
“In 2023, we anticipate a significant increase in security compared to the 2018 elections. As a result, about 120 polling stations have been identified for reinstatement. The district administration and police will collaborate to ensure these polling stations are operational in the villages due to the presence of security camps. This will be finalized in the coming days,” Sundarraj added.
“Our goal is to minimize the distance between voters and polling stations to ensure that the maximum number of voters can conveniently reach polling centers to cast their votes,” Sundarraj emphasized.
Regarding the deployment of security personnel, he mentioned, “For security reasons, we cannot disclose the exact number of troops deployed here. We have various security forces, including special forces, DRG, STF, Cobra, other central military forces, CRPF, STF, ITBP, and the local police force. Additional forces are allocated during elections, and a comprehensive security plan has been devised. The district administration and local police administration are executing this plan.” “All election-related procedures will be meticulously carried out. A voter conference has also been arranged for the residents. Activities, from blockades to area dominance, to patrolling arrangements, are already underway in the field. We will further strengthen this system in the coming period to ensure that the election process is conducted efficiently and systematically on November 7,” he added.