BHUBANESWAR: Odisha recorded 64 per cent voter turnout till 5 pm in the second phase of General Elections held in five Lok Sabha (LS) and 35 Assembly constituencies on Thursday as glitches in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) disrupted voting in many polling stations. Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Surendra Kumar has recommended to Election Commission of India (ECI) for repolling at six booths where discrepancies were reported.
Voting in these LS and Assembly seats spread over 11 districts were carried out under tight security to counter Moist threat. Barring stray incidents of violence, the election was by and large peaceful. BJP candidate from Sorada Assembly seat Nilamani Bisoi was detained by police for allegedly damaging the EVM at booth No 182 in Renti village of the constituency, while voters of around 26 villages boycotted polling as their demands were not fulfilled. A 96-year-old Natabar Behera of Kansamari village in Sanakhemundi Assembly segment of Ganjam district fell while waiting in the queue to cast his vote and died.
Similarly, two polling parties were trapped en route near Banigochha in Nayagarh due to landslide along Brutanga river in the evening. The polling in these five LS constituencies was 72.47 pc in 2014 polls. Kumar said the polling percentage is expected to improve as final figure from various booths was yet to reach the control room. The voter turnout in the second phase is comparatively lower than the first phase held on April 11 which saw 68 pc voters exercising their franchise in four Lok Sabha constituencies by 5 pm.
Flaws in EVM delayed polling for nearly an hour at several booths in Loisinga, Kurei and Agalpur in Balangir parliamentary constituency, six booths in Bonai, some booths in Talasara and two booths in Phulbani Assembly constituencies.
64 pc voting in Odisha phase II
Kumar said ECI has been recommended for repolling at two booths in Bonai and one booth each at Sundargarh, Dasapalla, Bargarh and Atabira where EVM snags were reported and voters complained that there was mismatch of symbols in EVMs and paper trails.
“Glitches in EVMs in these booths were a result of human error as the polling officials had cross-paired the EVMs and paper trails of Assembly and Lok Sabha polls. Polling officials responsible for cross-pairing of EVMs will face action for dereliction of duty and negligence,” he said.
Polling in the second phase took place at 9,207 booths of five Lok Sabha seats - Aska, Kandhamal, Balangir, Bargarh and Sundargarh - and 35 Assembly segments spread over 11 districts.
Fate of 279 candidates including heavyweights like Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Union Minister Jual Oram and Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra has been sealed in EVMs in this phase. Mishra has levelled allegation of EVM tampering after voting was delayed in some parts of Balangir constituency.