Indian Express

More than 70 per cent polling in Odisha final phase

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First times voters showing their inked fingers after casting votes at a polling station during the fifth phase of polling for Lok Sabha elections in Bhubaneswar. (PTI Photo) First times voters showing their inked fingers after casting votes at a polling station during the fifth phase of polling for Lok Sabha elections in Bhubaneswar. (PTI Photo)

More than 70 per cent of a total of 1.55 crore voters in 11 Lok Sabha and 77 Assembly constituencies of Orissa voted in the second and final phase of elections in the state even as repoll in Maoist-dominated Malkangiri was marred by a complete boycott.

Chief Electoral Officer Mona Sharma said till 6 pm, more than 70 per cent people had pressed the EVM buttons, but added that the figure was provisional. The final voting percentage would be known only after reports come from the districts after close of voting. Poll officials added that the final percentage can go beyond 75 per cent.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik casting his vote in Bhubaneswar. (Express Photo: Chandra Shekhar Sahoo) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik casting his vote in Bhubaneswar. (Express Photo: Chandra Shekhar Sahoo)

In the first phase, 75 per cent people had voted for 10 Lok Sabha and 70 Assembly constituencies of the State.

Dhenkanal and Angul jointly recorded the highest voting percentage of 75 per cent, while Khurda recorded the lowest of just 45 per cent. State capital Bhubaneswar dragged the overall percentage down with a measly voting of 40 per cent.

Among those whose fates were sealed in the EVMs are eight ministers and 13 former ministers including union minister Srikant Jena, former Union Minister Arjun Sethi, BJD MPs Baijayant Panda, Pinaki Mishra, Tathagata Satpathy and Bhatruhari Mahtab. Others whose fate would be decided are former minister and BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra, State PCC president Jaydev Jena, senior Congress leader Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra.

Political analysts said BJP on the back of a strong Modi wave is poised to do well in Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Keonjhar, Dhenkanal and Bhubaneswar. In 2009 poll, BJD had won 9 out of the 11 Lok Sabha seats and 69 out of the 77 Assembly seats.

In the isolated region of Malkangiri, where repolls were held on Wednesday, due to snatching of EVMs in the first phase on April 10, there was complete boycott by voters in nine booths. Repolling was ordered in 22 booths where voting was affected because of various reasons, including Maoist violence.

Meanwhile, Odisha Jan Morcha president Pyarimohan Mohapatra wrote a letter to the CEO demanding drastic punishment against BJD for issuing full page advertisements in newspapers today Biju patnaik’s death anniversary as the pretext.
Mohapatra said in the past 17 years that on the death anniversary of late Biju Babu, the BJD had never issued any such full page advertisement.  “The reason this time for such huge advertisement is obvious,” he said.

There were several poll-related incidents throughout continued…

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