71 per cent voter turnout in last phase polls in Odisha

As per the latest figures of the Election Commission, the voter turnout was 73.81 per cent in Mayurbhanj, 73.06 per cent in Jagatsinghpur, and 70.41 per cent in Balasore.
Image used for representation
Image used for representation

BHUBANESWAR: Amid the prevailing hot and humid weather conditions and a rise in cases of sunstroke deaths, Odisha on Saturday recorded brisk polling in the final phase encompassing six Lok Sabha constituencies and 42 Assembly segments with around 70.67 per cent turnout till 11.30 pm.

As per the latest figures of the Election Commission, the voter turnout was 73.81 per cent in Mayurbhanj, 73.06 per cent in Jagatsinghpur, 70.41 per cent in Balasore, 70.34 per cent in Bhadrak and 68.64 per cent in Kendrapara. Jajpur recorded turnout of around 67.91 per cent.

Among the Assembly seats, Bangiriposi reported the highest voting of 77.52 per cent while Aul stood at the bottom with a polling of around 62.38 per cent. The voting was only around 7.79 per cent till 9 am but picked up gradually to 22.64 per cent at 11 am, 37.64 per cent at 1 pm and 49.77 per cent at 3 pm. By 5 pm, the figure jumped to around 62.46 per cent. “Going by the trend of previous phases, the long queues of people in polling stations and the reports received from field officers, the voting percentage is expected to touch at least 75 per cent,” said chief electoral officer (CEO) Nikunja Bihari Dhal. 

Dhal said, “The overall voter turnout in the four phases is also expected to increase to around 75 per cent which is our internal target for the 2024 general elections.” In 2019 polls, the figure was around 73 per cent.

However, alleged inconvenience faced by voters due to lack of proper arrangements, stray incidents of violence and EVM glitches, marred the polling at some places in the final phase.

Tension prevailed in Nilagiri area of Balasore after a 67-year-old man from Ishwarpur village reportedly died while standing in a queue at a polling station. Similarly, Manoranjan Sahu, a booth-level officer on election duty, also died of a suspected heart attack at a booth in Oleichandanpur of Jajpur district.

On the other hand, a woman was killed by his husband near a booth in Mutkadihi village of Bhadrak when she had gone to cast her vote with her uncle. Two BJP workers sustained injuries after they were allegedly attacked by BJD supporters at a polling booth in Salipur. BJP’s candidate from the seat Arindam Roy alleged that his party’s workers were attacked by BJD workers after they objected to booth capturing.

The district election officer of Cuttack ruled out any booth capturing in Salipur, while the CEO said voting was by and large peaceful. “Wherever there were instances of skirmishes among supporters of political parties, we attended to them promptly. In fact, this is one of the most peaceful general elections held in the state,” he said.

Sporadic incidents of violence were also reported from Dhamnagar, Patkura, Jajpur and other Assembly seats. There were also reports of poll boycott in a few constituencies including Jashipur where around 750 voters from two villages reportedly refused to exercise their franchise alleging a lack of basic amenities.

With the elections coming to an end, a clear picture on the final figure of the last phase polling is expected to emerge by Sunday. The counting of votes for the four-phase general elections will take place on June 4.

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The New Indian Express