2nd Phase Polls : 7% Polling Recorded Till 9 AM, Nonagenarian Dies At Polling Booth  

Bhubaneswar: The 2nd phase of elections for five Lok Sabha and 35 assembly seats in Odisha witnessed 7% polling till 9 AM, according to Chief Electoral Office sources.

Stray incidents of malfunctioning of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were reported in some of the polling booths leading to the delayed commencement of polling. There are reports of poll boycott in two polling booths. Polling has so far been peaceful even as long queues of voters were witnessed in most of the polling booths across the State, CEO sources said.

Around 76.93 lakh voters are expected to vote for 279 candidates in simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly elections. Out of the total electorate, 37,47,493 voters are women. At least 605 voters belong to the third gender. The Lok Sabha constituencies of Kandhamal, Aska, Bolangir, Sambalpur, Bargarh and Sundargarh and 35 assembly segments coming under it are going to polls.

A 90-year-old man Natabara Behera who had turned up at booth no-183 in Sanakhemundi assembly segment of Aska parliamentary seat fell sick and died on the way to hospital. The nonagenarian could not exercise his franchise, said sources.

 Steps have been taken for webcasting in 883 booths, providing CCTV in 623 booths and engaging 892 micro-observers. Videography is being conducted in 331 places. As some areas in Kandhamal, Bolangir and Bargarh are Maoist-affected, security has been heightened to ensure smooth conduct of polls in those pockets, said officials.

Paramilitary forces, police, flying squads, static surveillance teams, poll observers, videography teams and excise sleuths have been deployed in the constituencies.

The electoral fate of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) chief Naveen Patnaik will decided today. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is contesting in two seats–Hinjili in Ganjam district and Bijepur in Bargarh. Senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra is contesting from Bolangir assembly seat, while BJP’s legislature party leader KV Singhdeo is contesting in Patnagarh.

Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram of the BJP, BJD”s Rajya Sabha MPs Prasanna Acharya and Achyut Samant, BJP nominee and three-time MP Kharabela Swain are in the fray in the Lok Sabha polls.