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Counting of votes in Dantewada assembly bypoll on Friday

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Press Trust of India Raipur
The counting of votes in the Dantewada assembly bypoll in Chhattisgarh held on September 23 will be taken up on Friday with both the Congress and the BJP eyeing victory in the Naxal-affected seat.
The vote count will start at 8 am at the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) campus in Dantewada district headquarters, where security has been stepped up, a poll official said here on Thursday.
The ruling Congress and main opposition BJP are locked in a direct fight in this Naxal-hit seat where bypoll was necessitated after the death of sitting BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi in a Maoist attack in April this year.
Postal ballots will be first taken up for counting followed by votes cast in the EVMs, he said, adding the entire process will go on till 20 rounds.
After completion of counting, votes polled in Electronic Voting Machines and matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs at any five polling booths in the constituency will be carried out, he added.
Voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) is an equipment which provides a feedback on paper to electorates about whom they have voted using the ballotless voting system.
The voter turnout in the bypoll in Dantewada, a seat reserved for Scheduled Tribe candidates, was 60.59 per cent.
Nine contestants are in the fray but the main fight is between the Congress and the BJP.
Prominent candidates in the fray are the wives of Bhima Mandavi and late Congress leader Mahendra Karma, both victims of Naxal violence.
While the BJP has fielded Ojaswi Mandavi, the wife of Bhima Mandavi, the Congress candidate is Devti Karma, whose husband Mahendra Karma was killed in the Jhiram Valley Naxal attack in 2013.
Both had contested against each other last year too.
Dantewada was the only seat in the Bastar division which the BJP managed to win in the 2018 assembly elections, which brought the Congress to power after 15 years.
In the 2018 polls, Devti Karma lost to Bhima Mandavi by a thin margin of 2,172 votes from Dantewada.
In the 90-member Assembly, the Congress won 68 seats last year and the BJP 15.
The Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J), founded by Ajit Jogi, and the Mayawati-led BSP bagged five and two seats, respectively.

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First Published: Sep 26 2019 | 9:40 PM IST

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