Odisha: 73% voter turnout recorded in fourth phase of panchayat poll

Bhubaneswar: Fourth phase of voting for election to Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in Odisha completed smoothly on Tuesday with 73 per cent polling, an official said.

As per preliminary reports, 73 per cent of 51.31 lakh voters have exercised their franchise in the fourth phase of the poll. The polling figure may be changed after the final figure to be released on Wednesday, State Election Commissioner A.P. Padhi said.

Election was being held for 163 Zilla Parishad seats at 17,089 booths in 1,254 Gram Panchayats under 64 blocks in 27 districts of Odisha.

The booth attached to remote Nagada village in Sukinda block of Jajpur district has recorded 83 per cent polling, Padhi said, adding, “For past many years, voters of Nagada village were not able to participate in a larger way in the elections due to lack of road communication.”

Similarly, 80 per cent voting was recorded at Maoist affected Trilochanpur village located at the Niyamagiri foothills in Lanjigarh block of Kalahandi district. The Panchayat election was disrupted in the village during past 20 years as it is a Maoist affected area, he said.

Padhi further said that the voting was disrupted at four to five places due to various reasons. The Commission will examine it after getting detailed reports from the concerned districts and will take a decision accordingly, he added.

With the completion of the fourth phase, polling has been completed in 266 out of 314 blocks of Odisha. The ballot boxes have been sealed in strong rooms with 24/7 CCTV surveillance and power supply, the commissioner said.

The district collectors have been asked to make arrangements of power backup facilities in the strong rooms and not to open the strong room in any circumstances before counting. Wherever re-polling was conducted, the ballot boxes will be stored in another room, he said.

On counting days, he added, all persons will be scanned thoroughly before entering into the counting hall so that no electronics devices like mobile phone and camera, seal and stamp pad, etc will be allowed into the hall.

Secretary to SEC, R.N. Sahu said all preparations have been made for the re-polling at 45 booths to be held tomorrow (February 23). Voting in these booths were disturbed during the first two phases, he said.

Meanwhile, the Commission has received proposals from district collectors for re-polling at 30 booths, where election was disrupted due to violence and error in ballot papers during the third phase. These booths will go for re-polling on February 25, the Secretary added.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Sambad English staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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