Rashmi Ranjan

Three days after they failed to cast their votes in the third phase of three-tier Panchayat elections on Saturday, the residents of Tumba village in Ganjam district detained the Block Development Officer (BDO) of Patrapur in the district on Wednesday.

Chikiti Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Krushna Chandra Bhatra today said that the villagers are holding the BDO, Prakash Das hostage. He said a police team has been dispatched to the village to release the BDO.

Sources said some villagers could not exercise their franchise during the third phase of the polls held on February 20 as their names were missing in the voter list.

Holding Das responsible for the same, the irate villagers detained him when he visited the village to review some developmental works at a school, sources added.

It is worthwhile to mention here that the Panchayat polls are being conducted in five phases to elect representatives to 853 Zilla Parishad seats, 91,916 Wards and 6,794 Gram Panchayats across the State.

The fifth and the final round of the Panchayat elections will be conducted tomorrow (February 24) and all preparations for the same have reached the final stage. 

Voting will be held for 131 Zilla Parishad (ZP) zones and 975 Gram Panchayats coming under them. 

More than 41.88 lakh voters are expected to exercise their franchise to elect representatives in the fifth phase. As many as 13,514 booths have been set up for the polling. 

For the first time, central counting of votes will be carried out at the Block headquarters on February 26, 27 and 28 under CCTV surveillance.