Bhubaneswar: Stage is set for the grandest festival of democracy in Odisha as the four-phase Lok Sabha and Assembly polls will commence in the state from tomorrow.
A total of four parliamentary constituencies (Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Berhampur and Koraput) and 28 corresponding assembly constituencies will go to polls in the first phase tomorrow.
Those assembly constituencies are Nuapada, Khariar, Umerkote, Jharigam, Nabarangpur, Dabugam, Lanjigarh, Junagarh, Dharamgarh, Bhawanipatna, Narla, Chhatrapur, Gopalpur, Berhampur, Digapahandi, Chikiti, Mohana, Paralakhemundi, Gunupur, Bissam Cuttack, Rayagada, Laxmipur, Kotpad, Jeypore, Koraput, Pottangi, Malkangiri and Chitrakonda.
As many as 60,03,707 voters, out of which 29,72,925 are male, 30,30,222 female and 560 third gender, will exercise their franchise in the first phase of polls at 7,233 booths.
While 26 candidates are in the fray to contest for 4 Lok Sabha seats, there are 191 candidates in 28 Assembly segments for the first phase. Of the 26 Lok Sabha candidates, only two are women while among 191 Assembly candidates, 16 are women.
The State Election Commission has already dispatched polling parties to their respective stations. Security has been beefed up in Malkangiri and Koraput districts to check Maoist activities.
Two helicopters are being used for shifting polling officials to inaccessible and highly sensitive polling stations in Malkangiri, said Odisha Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Surendra Kumar.
In a bid to ensure an incident-free polling, police, paramilitary forces, flying squads, static surveillance teams, poll observers, videography teams and Excise sleuths will be present in all Assembly constituencies.
Notably, Lok Sabha and Assembly elections will be held simultaneously in Odisha in four phases on April 11, 18, 23 and 29. Counting of votes will be held on May 23.