SAMBALPUR: The unusually high voters’ turnout in migration-prone Western Odisha districts has raised eyebrows in the political circle.
Every year, districts like Balangir and Nuapada witness large scale migration. Usually during this time, most of the migrant labourers are away in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Karnataka to work and do not return till June. Unofficially, two to three per cent of the migrants turn up to vote during polls as travelling back home would mean an additional expenditure for them. However, this year a large number of voters exercises their franchise in the districts, fuelling doubts over false voting.
In Nuapada district comprising five blocks, the polling in Nuapada block was 74.75 per cent (pc), Komna 77.5 pc, Khariar 78.42, Sinapali 80 pc and Boden 78.97 pc.
Similarly in Balangir, migration prone blocks of Belpada and Turekela reported voter turnout of 67.36 and 71.8 pc respectively, while it was 76.5 pc in another migration prone block of Muribahal. Other blocks like Patnagarh, Balangir Sadar, Gudvela, Puintala, Loisingha and Agalpur reported above 75 pc polling.
National BJP secretary Suresh Pujari said manipulation and malpractice were rampant during the panchayat election. “For the first time, the bureaucracy seemed to be spearheading the campaign of BJD. Under such circumstances, inquiry needs to be initiated into impersonation, false voting and non-existent voters,” he added.