Odisha Registers 78.3% Polling In Second Phase Local Body Elections


In the first phase polls, the district had also witnessed a low turnout of voters. (Representational)

Bhubaneswar:

Odisha has registered 78.3 per cent voting in the second phase of the polling for the three-tier panchayat elections, an official at the State Election Commission (SEC) said on Saturday.

Stating that the second phase polling on Friday was by and large peaceful barring some stray incidents, the official said Subarnapur district registered the highest 85.67 per cent voter turnout followed by Jharsuguda (85.14), Boudh (84.9), Kalahandi (83.81), Gajapati (82.69) and Gajapati (82.69).

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s native Ganjam district recorded the lowest turnout with 64.86 per cent. In the first phase polls, the district had also witnessed a low turnout of voters.

The state during the first phase of polling on February 16 had registered a voter turnout of 77.2 per cent.

The second phase polls were held at 20,436 booths in 1,514 panchayats in 68 blocks across the state.

Other districts which reported 80 per cent or above voter turnout were: Angul (80.32), Bhadrak (81.04), Deogarh, (81.08) and Dhenkanal (82.69).

SEC secretary RN Sahu said the commission has received recommendations of re-poll in 13 booths for different reasons and three other booths for error in ballot papers.

Jajpur SP Rahul PR said the police have so far arrested 28 persons in connection with poll violence including nine people on Friday.

In a related incident, the police detained a youth for allegedly swallowing a ballot paper during the polls on Friday. The incident occurred at Nagapali village under Mayurudan Gram Panchayat in Subarnapur district where a youth identified as Balgopal Meghani reportedly in an inebriated state swallowed a ballot paper when the voting was underway at the polling station.

The voting was halted for around one hour following the incident, police said.

In another incident, a sarpanch candidate of Sunarisikuan panchayat under Khadial block in Nuapada district was on Saturday found in unconscious state with his hands and legs tied in the nearby locality this morning.

Chulamani Baitharu, the Sarpanch aspirant, was missing since Friday night. Villagers found him in unconscious state with his hand and legs tied with rope. He also had injury marks on his head and hands. He was admitted to Khadial Sub-Divisional Hospital for treatment.

Meanwhile, the SEC secretary R N Sahu said the commission has made elaborate arrangements for the third phase of polling on Sunday. The polling will take place in 68 blocks spread over 29 districts. The elections will be held for 171 zilla parishad members in 1383 gram panchayats and 18,495 wards where 56.73 lakh people are eligible to exercise their franchise.

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