Maha minister praises cops for peaceful Gadchiroli rural polls

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Nagpur, Feb 14 (PTI) Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Sunday praised Gadchiroli police for ensuring the recent gram panchayat polls in the Naxal-affected district went off peacefully with a voter turnout of over 80 per cent.

In a statement issued during the day, Deshmukh said the coordination between the police and the district officials ensured polls in 920 booths in 12 talukas were held successfully last month.

The voter turnout in phase 1 was 82.06 per cent and in phase 2 was 80.01 per cent, such high numbers clearly showing that people of Gadchiroli had rejected Naxal threats of violence and boycott and had displayed their faith in the electoral process, the release said.

'What is worth appreciating is that women turned out in larger numbers to vote. The turnout among women was 81.19 per cent as against 74 per cent for men,' he added.

Poll authorities had declared 177 booths as hyper- sensitive and 377 as sensitive ones.

Police personnel helped with poll logistics, walking almost 1,168 kilometres to reach 181 booths in phase 1, and 1,978 kilometres to get to 186 booths in phase 2, while choppers were used to transport men and material to 122 hyper-sensitive booths, the minister said in his statement.