Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: The fourth and penultimate phase Panchayat polls will begin tomorrow amid tight security in 28 districts, the State Election Commission (SEC) said today.

Barring Jharsuguda and Boudh districts, polling would be conducted in the remaining 28 districts.

“A total of 50,61,974people would exercise their franchise for the election of 1324 Panchayat Samiti members and 18,876 Ward Members in 162 Zilla Parishad (ZP) zones,” SEC secretary Rabindranath Sahu told media persons here.

Informing that the polling parties have left for their respective polling booths and will arrive at their destination by this afternoon, Sahu said elaborate security measures are being taken at the sensitive booths in 28 districts with adequate deployment of security personnel.

“To ensure no threat to the polling parties, the district superintendents of police have been given specific instruction to provide armed police force to accompany each polling party for their arrival at their respective booths,” he said, adding that extra security measures have been taken in the Maoist infested districts.

Sahu said following disturbances in some booths like snatching ballot boxes, setting fire to ballot papers and attack on polling officials during the first phase polls, SEC had directed the district Superintendents of Police to provide additional forces for the security of polling officials during their return from the booths with ballot boxes.

“Due to the disturbances, we had ordered first phase repolling in 62 booths. But after the steps were taken by the SPs as per the recommendation of the SEC, the number of disturbances came down to 25 in the second phase and 10 in the third phase (polling in one booth could not be held due to flaw in ballot papers),” he added.