BHUBANESWAR: Elaborate arrangements are in place for the first phase polls for four Lok Sabha and 28 Assembly seats in Odisha on Thursday. Elections for the first phase will be held in Koraput, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi and Berhampur Parliamentary constituencies and their Assembly segments. More than 60 lakh voters will exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 26 Lok Sabha and 191 Assembly candidates.
Election Commission officials said a total of 60,03,707 voters comprising 29,72,925 male, 30,30,222 female and 560 transgenders will cast their votes in 7,233 booths.
With Left Wing Extremism activities remaining a major concern in the Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies going to polls in the first phase, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Surendra Kumar said tight security have been made to ensure smooth conduct of polls.
The Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) personnel and State police deployed on bordering districts have been put on high alert in the wake of Maoist attack in neighbouring Chhattisgarh on Tuesday in which five persons, including an MLA, were killed.
Polling time has been revised for some constituencies. In Kalahandi Lok Sabha constituency, voting time at polling booths in all the Assembly segments will be from 7 am to 4 pm. In Nabarangpur Lok Sabha constituency, voting time in all Assembly segments, except Nabarangpur, will be from 7 am to 4 pm. Voting time of Nabarangpur Assembly segment will be from 7 am to 6 pm.
In Berhampur, polling time will be from 7 am to 6 pm in all Assembly segments except Mohana, where the voting time will be from 7 am to 4 pm. In Koraput Lok Sabha constituency, the polling time will be from 7 am to 4 pm in all Assembly segments except Jeypore, where the timing will be from 7 am to 6 pm.
The Election Commission has identified 2,375 sensitive polling stations in the first phase. As many as 777 of these polling stations will be guarded by CAPF personnel while 215 stations will be under CCTV surveillance.
Two helicopters will be used to take polling personnel to highly sensitive polling booths in Swabhiman Anchal (former cut-off areas of Malkangiri) and other constituencies to ensure security of polling parties. A total 47,805 polling personnel, including 690 women polling officials, have been engaged for the first phase polls.
The CEO said flying squads, static surveillance teams, poll observers and police and excise sleuths will be deployed in all Assembly constituencies to ensure that elections are conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner.