Subadh Kumar Nayak

Kendrapara: A group of polling officials staged a dharna in front of an EVM distribution centre in Kendrapara today after being allegedly denied postal ballot papers to exercise their franchise in the fourth-phase elections in Odisha which is slated to be held on April 29. The agitators also threatened not to receive EVMs if their issue is not resolved.

“As we are engaged in election duty, we are here despite the scorching heat. However, we are being deprived of exercising our franchise. Being the citizens of India, it is our fundamental right to cast votes. Therefore, we request the concerned officials and the state government not to deprive us from casting our votes,” alleged one of the polling staff.

Echoing similar concerns another polling official said, “Hundreds of teachers are here with all valid documents and are willing to cast votes. When we approached the concerned official, he did not pay heed to our request saying he was busy with some other work.”

Meanwhile, the Nodal Officer in charge of postal ballots, Sukadeb Behera said that distribution of postal ballot papers was stopped following some disturbance created by the polling staff. However, their problems will be solved soon, he added.

Similarly, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Odisha, Surendra Kumar also assured to look into the matter.

Kendrapara among six other Parliamentary constituencies along with 41 Assembly segments therein will go to polls on April 29 in the fourth and final phase in Odisha.