ODISHA: The fourth phase of panchayat elections concluded on Tuesday amid instances of voters boycotting the polls in many districts.
In Ganjam district, over 2,000 voters of Maheshpur village in Manikpur panchayat of Khallikote block refrained from voting as they were unhappy with the formation of the new panchayat before the elections. As per reports, Maheshpur was earlier under Kanheipur panchayat.
It was included under Manikpur when the new panchayat was formed during delimitation. As the new panchayat was around 3 km away, villagers had expressed resentment and warned that they would vote only if polling was conducted in Kanheipur.
This apart, polling was briefly disrupted in a booth in Sunarijhola village under Kabisuryanagar block after some voters created hue and cry over their names missing from the voters’ list.
Earlier in the day, Collector Vijay Amruta Kulange, IG (Southern Range) Satyabrata Bhoi, and SP Brijesh Roy reviewed the security arrangements at various polling booths.
In Papadahandi block of Nabarangpur district, around 202 voters of ward no 1 in Kangumajhiguda village abstained from exercising their franchise over unmet demands. Sources said the villagers had earlier demanded the ward member post to be reserved for ST instead of SC as there were no Scheduled Castes in the village.
Kangumajhiguda has three wards that were previously reserved for SCs though not a single SC family resided there. Following the demands of the villagers, wards 2 and 3 were reserved for ST around three weeks back, but the status of ward no 1 remained unchanged. So the villagers decided to boycott the polls.
Dhenkanal district too witnessed poll boycott by villagers in booth 6 at Pakatamunda village under Kankadahada block over a demand concerning road construction on forest land. In Nihal Prasad village under Gondia block, miscreants captured the booth and snatched ballot boxes to disrupt the polling process. Ten persons were later arrested in this connection.
Contacted, DIG (North Central Range) Sarthak Sarangi said, “Polling was peaceful in the districts and police is ensuring smooth conduct of the process. No one will be spared in connection with the Nihal Prasad incident.”