A moderate 35 per cent polling was recorded till 1 pm in seven parliamentary constituencies of Chhattisgarh during the third and final phase of Lok Sabha polls in the state today. "Around 35 per cent of the electorate exercised their franchise in Raipur, Durg, Bilaspur, Janjgir-Champa (SC), Raigarh (ST), Surguja (ST) and Korba Lok Sabha seats till 1 pm," Joint Chief Electoral Officer DD Singh told PTI. So far no violence has been reported from these regions where polling will conclude at 6 PM this evening, he said.
Large number of youth queued up since morning to exercise their franchise in Raipur, Durg, Bilaspur and Korba seats. Among 153 candidates in the fray, fifteen are women, with 22 candidates belonging to recognised national political parties. Mahant, the sitting MP of Congress from Korba seat and Union Minister of state for Agriculture and Food Processing, is facing BJP's Banshilal Mahto in a tough contest. Korba's neighbouring Raigarh (ST) seat is also in the spotlight for a direct fight between BJP's state unit chief and sitting MP Vishnu Deo Sai and Congress' Aarti Singh. In the high-profile Raipur seat, six-time MP and BJP nominee Ramesh Bais is pitted against Congress MLA Satyanarayan Sharma.
In Durg, national president of BJP Mahila Morcha and sitting MP Saroj Pandey is locking horns with former Congress MLA Tamradhwaj Sahu. Another sitting MP and BJP leader Kamla Devi Patle is locked in a close contest against Premchand Jaisi of Congress in Janjgir-Champa seat. In Bilaspur, Karuna Shukla, niece of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, is contesting on Congress ticket against Lakhan Lal Sahu of BJP, while Congress nominee Ramdev Ram is crossing swords with BJP's Kamalbhan Singh in Surguja seat.