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Prospect of violence shadows second phase of polling in Odisha today

The election will be held across 175 Zilla Parishad (ZP) zones in 65 blocks of 29 districts for posts of ZP members,  sarpanch, panchayat samiti members and ward members.

Published: 15th February 2017 04:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th February 2017 04:46 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: With Bharatiya Janata party (BJP)’s winning pace in the ongoing panchayat elections going beyond the poll predictions so far, the second phase of the three-tier polls, to be held on Wednesday, has assumed significance.

The election will be held across 175 Zilla Parishad (ZP) zones in 65 blocks of 29 districts for posts of ZP members,  sarpanch, panchayat samiti members and ward members.

According to the State Election Commission (SEC), the polls will be held across 18,581 Wards in 1,386 panchayats. A whopping 53.62 lakh voters will exercise their franchise. In 2012 rural polls, out of 174 ZP seats in the second phase, 135 had gone to Biju Janata Dal, 22 to Congress while BJP managed just three.

As the first phase election trends have thrown up surprises, violence has been reported in Cuttack, Gajapati, Jajapur and Balasore districts where at least two related deaths have been recorded with close to a dozen persons left injured.

Sources said the security personnel are on their toes since these phases are likely to be keenly contested and the atmosphere is expected to be politically-charged as well as volatile given the trends that the first phase has thrown up.

While the BJP has complained of the ruling party engaging the bureaucracy to manipulate the election process, the poll panel has recommended suspension of Balasore Sadar BDO Mamta Nayak for alleged tampering of the electoral rolls.

She was taken off the poll duty after the SEC received a detailed report from the Collector and Poll Observers.



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