2nd Phase: Odisha Logs 70 Percent Polling - The New Indian Express

2nd Phase: Odisha Logs 70 Percent Polling

Published: 18th April 2014 11:40 AM

Last Updated: 18th April 2014 11:45 AM

At least 70 per cent voters turned out to exercise their rights in the second and final phase in Odisha where 11 Parliamentary Constituencies and 77 Assembly segments went to polls on Thursday. It was an improved show by the electorate in the 13 districts where the turnout was about 65 per cent in 2009.

Barring clashes in Cuttack’s Niali, where electronic voting machines (EVMs) in five booths were damaged by miscreants, the entire poll process went off smoothly in all the districts. Several pockets reported poll boycotts too.

Dhenkanal and Angul recorded 75 per cent polling, highest among the districts, whereas Khurda, the most urbane among the districts, continued its poor track record by being at the bottom. Till reports last came in, it had reported over 55 per cent polling, while in the Capital City, polling was just about 43 per cent.

The State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) said the overall voter turnout in Odisha was likely to go up further since polling was underway in some places beyond 6 pm.

In Niali, miscreants attempted to rig five polling booths __ Sagadialo, Suanlo, Mahangapada and Kolabansahi __ where they damaged the EVMs. An assistant engineer  entered the polling station in an unauthorised manner before being arrested by the police, CEO Mona Sharma told mediapersons.

The poll body may order re-polling in all the five booths. In Mayurbhanj’s Kheriaposi village under Mahuldiha police limits, a tehsildar-ranked officer was detained by the villagers who were boycotting polls. The officer was there to motivate the locals to vote when he was detained. Police rushed to the spot, but faced brickbat from the women residents. 

The officer-in-charge of Mahuldiha and another official were injured in the incident. Besides, there were complaints from Mahanga, Dhamasala, Ghasipura, Nayagarh and Brahmagiri, but Sharma said all the issues were dealt by the district election officers. In Kendrapara’s Mahakalpada, there were allegations of voters being given escorts to the polling booth though as per norms, only visually challenged are allowed to have companions.  Similarly, over 300 EVMs had to be replaced before and after mock polls across the State. “However, poll was not disturbed in any booth due to EVM error during this phase,” the State CEO said.

Among the districts, Angul, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Bhadrak and Jagatsinghpur recorded over 70 per cent turnout, an improvement over the 2009 elections. In some of the Assembly segments such as Ghasipura and Anandpur, the polling percentage was over 80. Jajpur also saw close to 70 per cent turnout.

In Cuttack, the poll turnout stood at 65 per cent, whereas in Nayagarh, it was about 62 per cent. In Khurda, the polling was about 55 per cent and the figure might go up.

Many parts also saw boycotts by the voters. In eight polling stations under Chitrakonda Assembly segment in Malkangiri where re-polling was being conducted, no voter turned up on the day.

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