Urban local bodies’ polls today

Bhubaneswar, Sep 19:

An estimated 18 lakh voters will excercise their franchise today in 1,968 booths to elect 1,103 ward members in 66 urban local bodies (ULBs) including one Municipal Corporation at Berhampur.

“All arrangements for conducting smooth polls have been made in 66 ULBs spread over 20 districts of Odisha. Adequate security arrangement have been made at Maoist-hit districts,” State Election Commissioner (SEC) Ajit Kumar Tripathy said Wednesday.

Of the total 1,968 polling booths, 561 booths have been identified as sensitive and 108 hyper-sensitive category, Tripathy said adding that superintendents of police of respective districts have been directed to take all possible steps for conducting elections in a peaceful manner.

Security has been heightened in the Maoist-infested Malkangiri, Gudari, Gunpur, Kashipur and Rayagada ULBs to thwart any untoward incident during the urban local body polls, he said.

As many as 11 platoons (330 personnel) of CRPF, DVF and SOG jawans have been deployed in the 108 hyper-sensitive booths including 28 in Rayagada and 14 in Gunpur.

Additional security arrangements were also being made in the ULBs in southern Odisha where Maoists were having a strong presence, sources said.

A total of 3893 candidates are in the fray in the 66 ULBs going to the polls. Meanwhile, the SEC had taken a series of measures to ensure free and fair poll in all the ULBs. Special squads had been deployed to prevent violation of the model code of conduct.

Tripathy said 2240 EVMs are put in 1968 booths and qualified engineers have been hired to meet requirement if any during the polling.

“In some cases CCTV cameras are fitted in some hyper sensitive booths,” sources said.(PTI)

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