BHUBANESWAR: Sporadic incidents of violence and EVM snag marked the fourth and final phase of General Elections in the State on Monday with around 66 per cent polling registered till 5 pm.
Ruling BJD and Opposition BJP workers were engaged in a clash at booth no 242 in Salepur, while a Congress worker was stabbed to death allegedly by his political rivals at Noliasahi near Gadakujanga in Balikuda-Erasama Assembly segment. The victim, Lachman Behera, had quit BJD and joined the Congress on Sunday. He was attacked while returning from a nearby polling station after casting his vote.
However, Chief Electoral Officer Surendra Kumar said voting remained peaceful. “Whatever complaints and reports we have received regarding poll irregularity will be examined,” he said.
Poll violence was also reported from various parts of the Lok Sabha seats. BJP’s Kendrapara candidate Baijayant Panda alleged that BJD workers were threatening voters in Mahanga and attacked BJP workers in the area. BJD leaders also levelled allegations of booth rigging by BJP in more than 10 booths. A video showing a man inside booth no 310 of Aul Assembly segment in Kendrapara influencing voters also went viral on social media. In another video, a woman was seen influencing voters at booth no 169 at Nuagaon in Jagatsingpur.
Acting on complaints, Jajpur Collector and Returning Officer Ranjan Kumar Das suspended three polling officials including two presiding officers for dereliction of duty and allegedly influencing voters during polling. Presiding Officer of booth no 191 Baikunthanath Mallick and Presiding Officer of booth no 135, Dhirendra Tripathy in Binjharpur were suspended for asking voters to vote for a particular party.
The Collector has also instructed police to arrest the two polling officials. Another polling officer Janardan Prusty of booth no 196 in Sukinda was put under suspension.EVM snags delayed voting at booth no booth no 226 and 128 in Aul and booth no 213 in Mahanga in Kendrapara. Polling was also disrupted for hours at booth number 71, 183, 198 and 220 of Bhandaripokhari Assembly segment; booth no 222, 244, 245 and 243 of Dhamnagar segment and booth no 14 and 216 of Chandbali segment in Bhadrak LS constituency due to glitches in EVMs.Voting was also affected at booth no 46 and 208 of Soro Assembly segment and booth no 119, 109 and 110 of Simulia segment in Balasore constituency.