The first round of voting in Chhattisgarh will take place on November 7. Twelve of the 20 seats up for grabs in the Bastar division will be decided in the first round of voting. Voting in Bastar’s interior regions has presented considerable challenges for the Election Commission (EC) and security forces. The Maoist organization has always participated in boycotts of elections.
In 40 of the division’s interior villages, 126 polling places have been constructed, where voters will cast their initial ballots.
The Naxalite movement had an effect on the Bastar village of Chandmeta. the neighbourhood is getting better in spite of all these issues. In the 40 interior villages of the division, where voting will take place for the first time, 126 polling booths have been constructed.
These areas were formerly ruled by the Naxalites. These villages’ difficult geographic conditions and security concerns prevented polling places from being established.
For the alternative voting method, safe sites were set aside as polling places a few kilometres outside of the village. Conversely, the villagers were instructed by the Naxalites to amputate the fingers of any voter.
The villagers were consequently unable to cast ballots. The situation has altered, though. Bastar’s interior has seen the establishment of over 60 security force camps in the previous four years. Additionally, roads leading to the interior have been built. Additionally, the Naxalites’ domain has shrunk.
Since the camps were set up, these areas have been the focus of area dominance, and according to the police, voting is now permitted there because of their increased level of safety. In order to prepare the polling parties, the Election Commission has also started the process of educating them.
Voter slips are currently being distributed by Madanlal Nag, the Booth Level Officer (BLO) for Mundagaon. Out of 638 voters, I have gone door to door since Sunday giving out slips to 512 of them.
The villagers now know more than they did ten or fifteen years ago. In addition, they want to know if it is an assembly or Lok Sabha election. As a result, we informed them about the impending assembly elections. They are therefore very enthusiastic. Because of the Naxal influence in this region, voting was previously uneasy. Men and women over the age of eighteen who are eligible to vote have all shown up to register their names and cast their first ballots this election cycle.
In the Darbha block of the Bastar district of the state of Chhattisgarh, sits the village of Chandameta. There are 335 voters registered in this village. Since the country’s independence, this is the first polling location to be established. It was only a few years ago that this village was even reachable by road. The polling place for this village was built in Chhindgur village, seven kilometres away from the village. There was daily movement of Naxalites through this area. Pressure also led the villagers to join the Naxalite movement.
“The villagers were told that anyone who cast a ballot would have their fingers amputated during elections. The villagers skipped voting. The perception of the area changed with time. There was a camp for security forces here. Naxalites attacked these security forces on a regular basis at first.
Under the watchful eye of security, the village began to flourish. We constructed roads. There were also schools, power, clean water, and medical facilities available. The villagers began to feel more confident. Naxalites gradually moved away from this village and joined the mainstream of rural society. In this village, a polling booth has been set up for the first time since independence. “We have set up a polling station in the newly built village school,” BLO Madanlal Nag said.