Voting for Antagarh bypoll began from 7 AM and around 40 percent turnout was recorded till 1 PM, Joint Chief Electoral Officer DD Singh told.

As many as 202 polling stations, including 190 hyper sensitive and three auxiliary booths, have been set up for the bypoll where as many as 1,51, 894 electorates will exercise their franchise till 3 PM, Singh said.

Around 10,000 security personnel have been deployed in the region to ensure fair and peaceful polling, he added.

Meanwhile, an encounter took place in Edenga village forests under Amabeda police station limits after naxal triggered an IED blast to harm a squad of STF (special task force) conducting a cordon in the region.

When security personnel reached the forests, rebels triggered a blast and opened fire.

However, when jawans retaliated, they fled into core forests, Kanker Superintendent of Police RN Dash said.

No injuries or causalities were reported in the incident, Dash added.

For Antagarh bypoll, 14 candidates had filed their nominations and after scrutiny and withdrawal, only two of them-- Bhojraj Naag from BJP and Rupdhar Pudo of Ambedkarite Party of India were left in the fray.

The by-poll was necessitated after BJP legislator Vikram Usendi resigned following his election to the Lok Sabha from Kanker seat.

After declaration of the bypoll schedule, the Congress, which had been struggling after a humiliating defeat in both Assembly as well as Lok Sabha elections in the state, had declared Manturam Pawar as its candidate from the seat, anticipating a good show.

However, Pawar surprisingly pulled out from the contest a day before the last day of withdrawal of nominations on August 29 for the bypoll, after which he was expelled from Congress.

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