Polling underway in 5 LS & 35 Assembly seats in Odisha

Bhubaneswar, May 20 (UNI) People in large numbers were seen queuing up outside the polling booths as voting began at 7 am in Odisha on Monday for five Lok Sabha and 35 Assembly seats spread over 11 districts in the state.

The second phase of the four-phase polling in Odisha will decide the electoral fortunes of about 315 candidates.

Prominent among them are Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, six of his council of ministers, former Union Minister Jual Oram and Dillip Ray, former Indian Hockey team captain Dillip Tirkey, four former Odisha ministers, and several sitting MLAs from the three major political parties: BJD, BJP, and Congress.

According to the state’s Chief Electoral Officer N B Dhal, an estimated 79.62 lakh voters, including 40,20,383 male voters, 39,31,105 female voters, and 850 transgenders, will exercise their franchise spread over 9,162 polling booths, of which 1,041 booths are exclusively managed by women personnel.

Dhal said that although voting will be over at 6 pm, polling will be completed by 4 pm at 1,689 booths and by 5 pm at 556 booths due to security reasons. These booths are located in the left-wing extremist-affected districts of Kandhamal, Boudh, Bolangir, and Bargarh, where special operational arrangements have been launched, DGP Arun Sharangi said.

The five Lok Sabha seats going to polls on Monday are Bargarh, Sundargarh, and Bolangir in Western Odisha and Kandhamal and Aska in Southern Odisha, along with 35 Assembly seats in these Lok Sabha constituencies.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won three seats—Bargarh, Sundargarh (ST), and Bolangir—while Aska and Kandhamal Lok Sabha seats went to the ruling BJD.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is contesting from Hinjili, his traditional assembly seat, from where he is seeking re-election for the sixth time, and Kantabanji Assembly seat in Western Odisha.

In the 2019 election, Patnaik also contested two assembly seats—Hinjili and Bijepur in Western Odisha. He retained the Hinjili seat and resigned from Bijepur.

Among the 37 candidates, including seven females, contesting the five Lok Sabha seats, Jual Oram (Sundargarh) and Sangeeta Kumari Singh Deo (Bolangir) are the sitting BJP MPs, while Achyut Samant from BJD is seeking re-election from Kandhamal Lok Sabha seat.

The BJD has dropped its sitting MP Suresh Pujari in Bargarh Lok Sabha and fielded him in the Brajarajnagar Assembly seat, while the Aska sitting MP was also dropped, and a debutant was fielded for the seat.

Former Union Minister Jual Oram (BJP), who has won the Sundargarh Lok Sabha seat six times, will take on BJD’s Dillip Tirkey. Sangeeta Kumari Singh Deo (BJP), who held the Bolangir Lok Sabha seat four times, will face former Congress Minister Surendra Singh Bhoi, who quit Congress and joined the BJD.

About 33,000 forces, comprising 102 Central Armed Police Forces and 66 platoons of Odisha Armed Police Forces, have been deployed in Odisha for polling on Monday, Odisha DGP Arun Sharangi said. Additionally, 47 Additional SPs, 88 DSPs, 236 Inspectors, and 2,000 Sub Inspectors and ASIs were deployed to supervise the security arrangements.

The DGP also mentioned that 257 flying squads and 251 Static Surveillance teams were deployed in this phase. About 48 CCTVs have been installed at the Inter-State Border Check Posts, and 93 intra-state border check posts have been opened in the state.

According to a joint survey by Odisha Election Watch and ADR, 25 crorepatis and 182 candidates who have declared criminal cases against them are in the fray.

BJP’s Dillip Ray is the richest candidate with declared assets of Rs. 313 crores, followed by BJD’s Kalikesh Singh Deo (Rs. 73 crores), Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik (Rs. 71 crores), and BJP’s Sangeeta Kumari Singh Deo (Rs. 67.30 crores).

A maximum of 22 companies of CAPF have been deployed in Kandhamal, considered a Maoist-infested district, while 22 companies of CAPF were deployed in Ganjam district, a politically sensitive area that witnessed pre-poll violence in which a BJP worker was killed and three others were injured.

BJP’s Berhampur Lok Sabha candidate and Jharigam Assembly candidate were also assaulted in the pre-poll violence.

In the first phase of polling in Odisha on May 13, about 75.68 percent voter turnout was recorded, with the highest of 82.16 percent recorded in the Nabarangpur Lok Sabha seat.

Leave a Reply