In a departure from its earlier classification of "sensitive" and "hypersensitive" booths, the ECI, in these polls, has used the term "critical" to define the nature of the perceived security threat to the polling stations.
Talking to newsmen here on Monday, Sunil Kujur, CEO, said of the 1797 booths in Bastar, 1407 booths are critical and all steps were being taken to ensure free and fearless polling. He said adequate number of security personnel had been deployed to reassure people about their safety and it is hoped that the polling percentage would be high, as was during the assembly elections.
Kujur said 153 polling parties would be deployed through helicopters at various polling stations to ensure safety of the personnel and the material. He said two air ambulances would also be at the disposal of the EC, from April 9 to 12, to handle any exigencies. Besides, four ambulances with advance life support systems would be stationed in the constituency on the polling day.
He said the voting time for the all polling stations in the constituency would be from 7 am to 4 pm. Giving figures for the poll arrangements during the first phase, Kujur said that 58 web cameras and 176 digital/video cameras would be used on the polling day.
Meanwhile, the Bastar constituency, with a total strength of 12.98 lakhs registered, including 6.65 lakhs females, is set to witness a multi-cornered contest. Though there are eight candidates in the fray, the fight is expected between the traditional rivals, the BJP and the Congress, and the debutant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
The AAP candidate, Soni Sori, a tribal teacher from the sensitive Dantewada area, has made the contest an interesting one. She has been drawing a lot of support, giving sleepless nights to her opponents. The other candidates in fray are Dinesh Kashyap (BJP), Arjun Singh Thakur, Deepak Karma (INC), Manbodh Baghel (BSP), Shankar Ram Thakur (SP), Vimla Sori (CPI) and Devchand Dhruv (CPI (ML)).
While Dinesh has been re-fielded by the BJP, the Congress is hoping to cash on the sympathy in favour of Deepak Karma, whose father, Mahendra Karma, founder of Salva Judum, was slain by Maoist last year.
Candidates - 8
National party candidates - 4
EVM control unit- 1977
Ballot unit- 2156
Web camera- 58
Digital / video cameras- 176
Flying squad- 24
Polling staff - 8625
Polling booths - 1797
Critical booths- 1407
Voting time- 7am-4pm