The Indian Air Force performed 404 sorties with eight MI-17 choppers for six days, ferrying polling events together with voting machines in Naxal-affected Bastar division through the just lately held first section of Chhattisgarh polls, a senior election official stated on Friday.
Twelve constituencies of Bastar division have been amongst 20 meeting segments in Chhattisgarh that went to the polls within the first section on November 7. A excessive voter turnout of 78 per cent was recorded in these 20 seats.
The Chhattisgarh Chief Electoral Officer wrote on X on Friday, “Defying all challenges, the Indian Air Force (IAF) conducted 404 sorties with Eight MI 17s, securely ferrying 853 polling team members to and from 43 locations, enabling a successful electoral process in a tough LWE-affected region. Salute to the India Air Force.” More than 860 polling social gathering members have been despatched by MI-17 helicopters to 156 polling stations in 5 districts of Bastar division – Sukma, Bijapur, Kanker, Dantewada and Narayanpur – from November 4 to six for voting on November 7, Inspector General of Police Sundarraj P advised PTI.
After the voting, all of the presiding officers together with digital voting machines (EVMs) and members of the polling groups have been introduced again to the respective district headquarters in a phased method over the subsequent three days. The evacuation train was accomplished by November 9 night, he stated.
As per the pre-determined motion plan, preparations have been made by the native administration or police or safety forces to accommodate the polling personnel in close by safety camps and different acceptable locations throughout polls, he stated.
The IG expressed his gratitude to the IAF for its 6-day-long effort to make sure the graceful conduct of the polls.
There have been a number of situations of Naxalites firing on helicopters in Bastar, Dantewada and Sukma districts of the area prior to now.
In the 2008 meeting elections, Naxalites fired on an IAF chopper quickly after it took off from Pedia village in Bijapur with voting machines and personnel. Flight engineer sergeant Mustafa Ali was killed within the cockpit within the assault. The plane’s captain, squadron chief T Okay Choudhary, managed to take off regardless of bullets partially damaging the chopper’s rotorcraft and landed in Jagdalpur.
The remaining 70 of the full 90 meeting seats within the state will go to polls within the second section on November 17.