Bhubaneswar: The second phase of elections commenced in Odisha today with five Lok Sabha and 35 Assembly seats going to polls.
A total of 76.93 lakh voters will exercise their franchise for Bargarh, Sundargarh, Balangir, Kandhamal and Aska Lok Sabha seats and 35 Assembly seats under these parliamentary constituencies spread across western and southern Odisha.
Of the total voters, 39.45 lakh male, 37.47 lakh female and 605 others will cast their votes at 9,117 booths. A total of 35 candidates are in the fray for the five Lok Sabha seats including 30 male and five female candidates. Similarly, 244 candidates are contesting for the 35 Assembly seats, of which 219 are male and 25 female.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will try to retain Sundargarh Lok Sabha seat — the lone seat it had won in 2014. Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram is contesting from the parliamentary constituency against BJD candidate Sunita Biswal, daughter of former Chief Minister Hemananda Biswal, and Congress candidate George Tirkey.
On the other hand, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) will defend the other four Lok Sabha seats.
Several political heavyweights including BJD Rajya Sabha members Prasanna Acharya and Achyuta Samanta, sitting Lok Sabha member from BJD Kalikesh Narayan Singhdeo, BJP National Secretary Suresh Pujari, former MP Sangeeta Singhdeo are contesting the Lok Sabha polls in the second phase.
Among the Assembly constituencies, BJD President and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is fighting from two seats — Hinjili under Aska LS constituency and Bijepur under Bargarh LS constituency.
Besides, senior Congress leader and opposition leader Narasingha Mishra is fighting from Balangir Assembly segment while BJP legislature party leader K.V. Singhdeo is contesting from Patnagarh Assembly seat.
Re-polling is also being held in two polling stations in Malkangiri and Berhampur Assembly constituencies following reports of glitches in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) during the first phase of polling on April 11.
(With IANS inputs)