Campaign ends for State's Ph-II poll, 102 CAPF units to be deployed

The ECI has appointed 10 general observers, 15 expenditure observers and three police observers for the phase.
Image used for representational purpose. Electronic Voting Machines inside a polling station.
Image used for representational purpose. Electronic Voting Machines inside a polling station. (File photo| EPS)

BHUBANESWAR: Curtains came down on the high-pitched campaign for five Lok Sabha constituencies and 35 Assembly segments that will go to polls in the state’s second phase on May 20.

Voting will be held in Aska, Bargarh, Balangir, Kandhamal and Sundargarh Parliamentary constituencies and the Assembly seats under them. This round will also seal Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s fate in two constituencies of Hinjili under Aska and Kantabanji under Balangir Lok Sabha seats.

Keeping in view the pre-poll violence reported from several parts in the last few days, the Election Commission of India has ordered deployment of 102 companies of central armed police forces (CAPFs) for the phase.

Chief electoral officer Nikunja Bihari Dhal said around 20 per cent of the 9,162 polling booths in phase two have been identified as critical while there is provision of web-casting in 60 per cent of the booths. Accordingly, 22 companies of CAPFs will be deployed in Maoist-affected Kandhamal district, while 20 will guard Ganjam. This apart 16 companies will be deployed in Sundargarh, 14 each in Bargarh and Bolangir, five each in Jharsuguda and Boudh, four in Sonepur and two in Nayagarh,” he said.

“The pre-election violence in Ganjam district is a matter of concern. Police have already registered a case and apprehended some of the accused, while hunt is on to arrest the remaining persons. Clear instructions have been issued to police to act fast and restore normalcy at the earliest whenever such incidents occur”, Dhal said.

He said an additional DGP rank officer has already been appointed to oversee law and order arrangements in Ganjam, especially Aska Parliamentary constituency in view of pre-poll violence in Khalikote.

A total of 79.69 lakh voters, including 40.33 lakh men and 39.35 lakh women, will exercise their franchise at 9,162 polling stations in the second phase to decide the fate of 265 MLA and 40 MP candidates. Around 1,541 will be model polling stations, while 1,041 will be managed by all-women personnel and 25 by differently-abled staff and officials.

The ECI has appointed 10 general observers, 15 expenditure observers and three police observers for the phase. An air ambulance will be kept on standby at Balangir for emergency.

With IMD predicting rise in temperature on May 20, the CEO said adequate drinking water, ORS and essential medicines will be made available at each polling station. Besides, paramedical staff, ASHA workers, ambulances and mobile health units will also be deployed, he said.

In 2019, Bargarh Lok Sabha seat had recorded 77.87 per cent turnout, followed by Sundargarh at 71.67pc, Balangir at 74.75pc, Kandhamal 72.90pc and Aska 65.53pc. “This time too we are taking various steps to ensure maximum voter turnout in these constituencies, the CEO said.

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