BHUBANESWAR: A record 77 per cent of voters on Tuesday exercised their franchise amid tight security in the fifth and final phase of the panchayat election even as reports of post-poll violence were received from several places.
“Polling was conducted peacefully all over Odisha including Maoist-hit areas except some minor disturbances,” State Election Commissioner (SEC) Rabinarayan Senapati told mediapersons here.
Polling was held in 16,148 Wards of 1,173 gram panchayats (GPs) under 58 blocks and 150 Zilla Parishad constituencies spread over 26 of total 30 districts. The rural polls were completed in four districts of Angul, Boudh, Jharsuguda and Malkangiri in four previous phases.
The SEC said though polling was held at 26-Belpada Zilla Parishad Zone in Balangir district, the results will not be declared along with others on February 25.
The highest voter turnout of 88 per cent was reported in Sonepur district while the lowest 67 per cent polling was received from Ganjam district.
The SEC said the polling percentage increased in subsequent phases. While the percentage of voting was 71 per cent in the first phase of polls on February 13, it increased to 73 per cent in second phase on February 15. In the third and fourth phases, the polling percentage was 75 and 76 respectively, he said.
He said overall polling percentage in the three-tier rural polls in all the five phases was 74. The SEC said wherever the poll has been disrupted, detailed report from the district Collectors concerned is awaited. After receipt of report, the Commission will examine the matter and take further decision, he said.
A report from Jajpur district said polling was postponed in two booths in Kantor panchayat under Korei block as names of some of the sarpanch candidates were missing from the ballot papers.
Though there were seven candidates in the fray, the names of only five candidates were there in the ballot paper. A report from Kalahandi district said at least 968 people of 26 villages under Trilochanpur GP did not cast their votes due to Maoist threat.