PURI: Incidents of violence in Assembly segments under Puri Lok Sabha constituency and EVM glitches across five other constituencies marked the third phase of General Elections on Tuesday.
Like the first and second phase of elections, EVM snags delayed polling in many parts of Puri, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Sambalpur and Keonjhar constituencies. A section of voters in Sambalpur district boycotted polls protesting construction of a dam.
EVM damaged, booth ransacked
Poll violence was reported from Bramhagiri Assembly segment in Puri Lok Sabha constituency where an EVM was allegedly damaged by some individuals over cross-pairing.In booth 222 in Kama Sasan village, EVMs and VVPATs did not function and even after being replaced, they showed faulty results. Angry voters destroyed the EVMs and VVPAT machines and staged dharna demanding repolling. In Balabhadrapur under Satyabadi Assembly segment, tampering of EVM was alleged in booth 78. Voters alleged that although they voted for different candidates, all votes went to candidate of a particular party. In Telengapada village under Kanas block, locals gheraoed the polling station alleging tampering of votes by a polling official.
In ITI booth in Puri town, police averted clash between the BJD and BJP workers when the latter alleged that people who did not have their names in the voters list entered the booth to cast votes. Four persons belonging to the local fishing community with ink marks on their fingers were also found waiting inside the booth to cast votes.
The BJP workers alleged that the persons had voted in Andhra Pradesh earlier and were attempting to vote again. Normalcy was restored in the booth after police drove the four persons out of the booth. Sambit Patra and Pinaki Mishra, the Lok Sabha candidates, were present at the booth.
The district administration heaved a sign of relief when polling was conducted smoothly in Pipili, considered the most tumultuous area.
Polling official dies
In Dhenkanal, an Animal Husbandry department official of Hindol, Naba Kishore Nayak who was on election duty in booth 41 of Kanakdahada block in Parjang Assembly constituency developed health complications during polling and died in Kamakshyanagar Sub-divisional Hospital.Collector Nikhil Pawan Kalyan condoled his death and said financial assistance will be extended to the bereaved family as per Election Commission of India guidelines.
Polling was delayed in at least eight places across the district due to glitches in EVMs and VVPAT machines but by 7 pm, 70 pc voter turnout was recorded in four Assembly segments of Dhenkanal, Kamakshyanagar, Hindol and Parjang.
Four pink booths were opened in Dhenkanal Municipality besides Kamakshyanagar, Hindol and Bhuban NACs while 10 model polling stations had come up in each Assembly segment where all basic necessities of voters including drinking water, wheelchairs for PwD and elderly voters were taken care of.As many as 16,000 PwD voters had been provided voter ID cards earlier and pick up and drop facilities were arranged for them. As many as 1706 booths had come up under Dhenkanal Lok Sabha constituency for which, nine candidates are in fray. The fight is between BJD candidate Mahesh Sahoo and his BJP rival Rudra Narayan Pany in the Parliamentary seat.
59.5 pc polling in Angul segments
In the five Assembly segments under Angul district, an average of 59.52 pc voting was recorded till 5 pm. Voting continued till 8 pm in some areas. Segment wise, Pallahara recorded 60 pc by 5 pm, Talcher 64.65, Angul 62, Chhendipada 59 and Athmalick 52 pc. Polling was largely peaceful except EVM snags at certain places, said Collector Manoj Kumar Mohanty. Snags in EVMs delayed polling in booths 128 and 130 at Ranpur in Nayagarh and booth 96 and 109 in Banki Assembly segment.
Villagers boycott election
Voters in three villages under Kuchinda Assembly segment under Sambalpur Lok Sabha constituency boycotted election protesting the Lambodar dam project on river Kharla. The villages are Bamragarh and Lepeikani under Dimirimunda gram panchayat besides Karangamal village under Sirid gram panchayat.
Polling was by and large peaceful in Sambalpur, Rairakhol, Rengali and Kuchinda segments under Sambalpur Parliamentary constituency. By 5 pm, the polling percentage was 53.4. EVMs failed to work for sometime at booth no 101, 135, 138 and 145 in Kuchinda.
Names missing from voters list
At Cuttack Lok Sabha constituency, enthusiastic voters turned out in large numbers to vote despite the sweltering heat conditions. Polling was largely incident free except for reports of delay due to snags in EVMs and VVPAT machines in over 20 booths and exclusion of voters’ names from the voters list.
“I could not exercise my franchise as my name was missing from the voters list,” said 49-year-old ailing Laxmi Dei of Ward 24 who had gone to vote in the model booth on the premises of MS Law College in a wheelchair.
While voter turnout was 60 pc by evening, voting continued at some booths till 8.30 pm.
Polling for Badamba Assembly constituency in booth 196 at Jhajia UGME school was disrupted and later cancelled as VVPAT machines delivered wrong results due to faulty connection with EVMs.
Congmen campaign inside booth
Voting was disrupted for some time in Suanpada booth under Ghasipura Assembly segment as supporters of the Congress entered a polling station and campaigned for the party while the BJD polling agent was not allowed to enter the booth.
This led to acrimonious scenes at the booth and BJD workers staged a dharna in protest. As many as 10 people of Sapua Sahi under Gadabandhagoda panchayat under the segment were detained for attempting to disrupt polling process.
Meanwhile, around 63.38 per cent polling percentage was recorded in Keonjhar Parliamentary constituency till 5 pm, said Collector and District Election Officer Ashish Thakre. The highest of 70 pc polling was recorded at Ghasipura Assembly segment while Champua and Karanjia registered a turnout of 57 pc.
Voting was delayed in some booths due to faulty EVMs. Polling was disrupted between 7 am and 9 am at booths 265, 272, 174,175,126 and 197 under Anandpur Assembly constituency due to malfunctioning of EVMs.
Voting continued till 7 pm in these booths. In Keonjhar Sadar Assembly segment, voting was affected till 11 am at booth no 221 and 250. Similar instances were reported from Balipal and Toraniapal in Ghasipura Assembly segment.
Residents of Aramsahi-Loidapada in Joda block of Champua Assembly segment boycotted polls seeking fulfilment of their demands including construction of a bridge and a road from Loidapada to Barbil. The tribal villagers staged a demonstration in front of a booth at Rugudi Primary School.
Similarly, residents of Danua in Saharapada block of Patna Assembly segment staged protest in front of Tangarpada booth demanding electricity connection to their village. They relented after assurance from Nesco authorities that their demand will be fulfilled soon.