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IANS

An average 45 per cent voter turnout was recorded till 12 p.m. in the third phase of Panchayat elections underway in 171 Zilla Parishad zones of Odisha, an official said here on Sunday.

The polling, which began at 7 a.m., ended at 1 p.m.

As per preliminary reports, barring a few booths of Jajpur district, polling was smooth in the state, Secretary to State Election Commission (SEC), R.N. Sahu said.

As per reports, three media persons were allegedly assaulted in Jajpur district. The journalists from an electronic media house were attacked by unidentified miscreants while they were going to cover the alleged loot of ballot boxes from two booths at Bachala Panchayat under Binjharpur block in the district, sources said.

Sahu said the Commission was yet to receive any report about the incident. The District Collector will be asked to submit a detailed report on this after completion of the voting, he said.

The third phase voting was underway at 18,495 booths in 1,382 Gram Panchayats under 63 blocks of 29 districts. As many as 679 candidates are in the fray for the 171 Zilla Parishad seats.

The SEC has already decided to conduct re-polling at 45 booths, where election was disturbed during the first two phases of polling. The re-polling will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on February 23 under tight security arrangements at the booths.

The police, so far, arrested 62 persons in the district in connection with poll disruption incidents during the first of the two-phased Panchayat elections in the state.

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