Pradeep Pattanayak

Amid tight security, re-poling began at as many as 49 booths across the State where the election was disrupted during the first and second phases of the Panchayat elections, on Wednesday. 

Of the 49 booths, while 25 are those where polling was affected in the first phase of voting, the rest 24 are the troubled ones during the second phase.

Jajpur district has a maximum of 24 such booths where polling was affected in both first and second phases. 

The re-polling of the first phase is underway at 11 booths in Jajpur district, five each in Puri and Bhadrak districts and four booths in Dhankanal district. Similarly, out of the 24 booths where re-polling is progressing, 13 booths are in Jajpur district, three booths each in Jagatsinghpur and Mayurbhanj districts, and one each in Balasore, Bhadrak, Boudh, Bolangir and Keonjhar districts

The re-polling started at 9am and will continue till 3pm. Enthusiastic voters were seen turning up in large numbers at the booths to exercise their franchise. At some booths, voters, including women and elderly persons, were seen waiting for their turn in queues. 

Notably, so far four phases of voting, out of five, for the three-tier Panchayat elections have already concluded while the fifth and last phase is scheduled to be held on February 24.

Incidents of violence were reported on the very first day (February 16) of the Panchayat polls. That prompted DGP Sunil Bansal to issue a stern warning to the mischief mongers and several arrests were also made the following day. But the action taken hardly had any impact on the miscreants who resorted to unlawful activities- from capturing booths, rigging, snatching away ballot boxes, assaulting poll officials, policemen and journalists. Murderous attack on reporters was reported from Bachhol Panchayat under Binjharpur block in Jajpur district during the third phase of the election. The incident not only made headlines across the State but it also drew sharp reaction from all quarters.