Raipur, April 7 :
The Election Commission has deployed six helicopters for ferrying 153 polling parties to booths located in the interior pockets of Chhattisgarh’s Bastar Lok Sabha constituency which has a track record of poll violence.
The Bastar seat which has 1,797 polling booths, mostly in areas where Maoists hold sway, goes to polls April 10.
Chhattisgarh will witness polling in three phases with balloting in Bastar Thursday while voting for three and seven seats will be held April 17 and April 24 respectively.
Thousands of paramilitary and state police personnel along with 8,625 polling staff have been deployed in Bastar.
Sources at the police headquarters in Raipur said security forces have stepped up combing and search operations in areas of Bastar where Maoists have reportedly planted mines and explosives to scare away voters.
“The lifting of polling teams by helicopters has already commenced from Monday itself. The copters are also transporting polling material required for various booths in Bastar,” Chief Electoral Officer (Chhattisgarh) Sunil Kujur told mediapersons at a news conference here.
Apart from taking polling parties by choppers, an air ambulance would also remain in service from April 9 to 12 for emergencies.