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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: The high-pitched campaigning for the first phase of the three-tier panchayat elections in the state came to an end this evening with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his Chhattishgarh counterpart Raman Singh seeking votes for their respective party candidates.

While Patnaik campaigned for BJD candidates in his home constituency of Hinjilicut in Ganjam district in South Odisha, Raman Singh addressed at least two public meetings in Sundargarh district in Western Odisha.

Former Jharkhand Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Arjun Munda campaigned in Mayurbhanj district while Union Minister Ram Kripal Yadav addressed some election meetings for BJP candidates in Bhadrak district.

"I am sure the BJD candidates will do well in the panchayat elections," Patnaik said after attending at least 33 road shows in his home turf.

Raman Singh wooed voters by informing the people that they too can have a better life like the residents of Chhattisgarh if they vote for the BJP candidates.

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Meanwhile, the State Election Commission (SEC) today announced that arrangements have been made for the first phase Panchayat polls in Odisha scheduled to begin at 7 am on February 13.

"Elections will be held in 189 Zilla Parishad Zones in 29 districts in which a total of 58,28,446 voters will exercise their franchise. Polling will be conducted in 20,369 booths. The elections would be held in 1506 Gram Panchayats," SEC secretary Rabindranath Sahu told reporters here.

The Commission has also directed the District Collectors to make necessary arrangements for installation of CCTV cameras and videography in hyper-sensitive and sensitive booths, if required.

Sahu said the polling parties would reach their allotted polling booths by tomorrow afternoon.

"Leaders, who are not the voters and presently staying in the area where the elections would be held on February 13, will have to leave the area by this evening," he added.

The elections will be held in five phases on February 13, 15, 17, 19 and 21. Polling on each of these five days will start at 7 am and go on till 12 noon.

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