A huge haul of explosives, including 15 IEDs and three pressure bombs, were recovered on Thursday by security forces from separate places averting a massive strike in the Naxal-hit Bastar Parliamentary seat, where about 15% of the electorate cast their votes in the initial hours of polling.
The explosives--15 Improvised Explosive Devices - 10 kg each -- buried beneath were unearthed this morning by a joint patrol squad of Border Security Force and district force from Nelnar area of Narayanpur district, Joint Chief Electoral Officer DD Singh said.
Acting on a tip-off, the security personnel had conducted a de-mining exercise in Nelnar region following which they detected a large number of landmines. Later, owing to security reasons, the Nelnar polling booth was shifted to a nearby place Akabeda, he said.
In a separate incident, three pressure bombs were recovered from Bhansi police station limits of Dantewada district by a local police team.
The police party mobilised on getting information that Naxals have blocked Bacheli road in the region by felling trees. On reaching the spot, they recovered the bombs along with three dummy IEDs.
According to Singh, polling in Bastar began from 7 am and around 15% turnout has been recorded till 10 am.
The time of polling time in seven Assembly seats--Bastar, Chitrakot, Narayanpur, Bijapur, Konta, Kondagaon and Dantewada --in the region is till 3 pm while the single Jagdalpur Vidhan Sabha seat will witness polling upto 4 pm, he said.
However, at some sensitive polling booths, voting started after a short delay, Singh said.
Eight candidates including two women, are in the fray for the lone Bastar seat, where voting is underway in the first phase of elections in Chhattisgarh.
Of the 1,797 booths in Bastar, 1,407 booths have been marked as 'critical' and all steps have been taken to ensure free and fearless polling there, the official said.
BJP has once again fielded in its old face and sitting MP Dinesh Kashyap while Congress has reposed faith in Deepak Karma whose father Mahendra Karma, founder of Salva Judum movement, was killed in the Jiram valley Naxal attack on May 25 last year.