Odisha sees a 68% turnout until 6 p.m. in a quiet polling
BHUBANESWAR: Polling during the first phase elections in the four
parliamentary and 28 assembly constituencies was largely peaceful
in Odisha on
The voters’ turnout was recorded 68% during the simultaneous assembly and Lok Sabha elections by 6pm in the state against 75% recorded in the first phase of 2014 general elections, said chief electoral officer of the state Surendra Kumar.
“Polling for the first phase elections has been totally peaceful and incident free. Now the main target is to carry the EVM machine safely to strong rooms,” Kumar added.
In the first phase fates of 26 candidates for Lok Sabha and 191 candidates for assembly constituencies are locked in the EVM machines.
In the wake of the poll boycott call given by Maoists in the Red-hit areas of South Odisha, 15 booths have reported zero voting in the state including nine polling stations in Chitrakonda area in the Malkangiri district.
Director general of police (in-charge) of Odisha BK Sharma said, “As voting was held in the Maoist-affected areas in the first phase elaborate security arrangement was made using central forces, state police and Special Operation Group (SOG). No violent or untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the state during the polls.”
Polling was held in 7233 polling booths in Berhampur, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur and Koraput parliamentary constituencies in the first phase of which 2375 booths have been declared as critical.
Phase first polling in Malkangiri.
Due to technical snag in EVM and VVPAT machines polling was disrupted in some booths initially and began about 30 to 40 minutes after the scheduled starting time of 7am in several polling stations.
“The technical snag in EVM and VVPAT machine was reported in less than one per cent booths, which is much less than last election. We have information of 62 allot units, 65 control units and 165 VVPAT machines having some glitches due to various reasons. These machines have been replaced or repaired. But no extra time can be permitted in polling booths where voting started late due to any reason whatsoever,” said Kumar.
Polling officials along with security men for at least nine polling booths situated inside the cut-off area were air-dropped while the administration has relocated 10 polling booths close to the BSF camp at Kuntarpadar, situated in the area. The district with two assembly seats namely Malkangiri and Chitrakonda has identified 75 booths to be hyper-sensitive and 32 as sensitive.
In several places across Kalahandi district there was vote boycott in five places on local demands like road connectivity, bridges and lack of development activities. These areas of vote boycott are Bhejipadar village under Bhawanipatna assembly segment, Surli, supel, Kusumdara, Sankriguda cluster of villages under Junagarh assembly segment, Tetengpadar under Narla assembly segment, four villages under Taljhapi of Thuamul Rampur block in Lanjigarh assembly segment, Manibandha of Lanjigarh assembly segment. Govt officials tried to persuade the villagers to cast vote but failed in their effort.
In 2014 elections Koraput, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi and Berhampur Lok Sabha constituencies had recorded voters’ turnout of 76.16%, 78.80%, 75.83% and 67.90% respectively, election commission sources said.