2nd phase polling to begin in 5 Lok Sabha, 35 Assembly seats today in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: The stage is set for the second phase of polling for five Lok Sabha and 35 Assembly seats in Odisha today. A total of 76.93 lakh voters are eligible to cast their franchise for Bargarh, Sundergarh, Bolangir, Kandhamal and Aska Lok Sabha seats and 35 Assembly seats under these parliamentary constituencies spread across western and southern Odisha.

Of the total voters, 39.45 lakh male, 37.47 lakh female and 605 others will cast their votes in 9,117 booths, said sources at Chief Electoral Officer (CEO).

A total of 35 candidates are in the fray for the five Lok Sabha seats including 30 male and five female candidates. Similarly, 244 candidates are contesting for the 35 Assembly seats of which 219 are male and 25 female.

In 739 booths, central forces have been deployed and in 883 booths web casting will be done. As many as 892 booths will be under the scrutiny of micro-observers. Like the first phase polls, mock polling will be conducted 90 minutes prior to voting. The polling process will begin at 7 AM and continue till 6 PM in the evening. In view of security concerns at 13 booths, voting process will continue till 4 PM while more than 60,000 employees will be on-duty at different booths.

“To ensure smooth conduct of voting, many steps have been taken by the Election Commission. In 883 booths, web casting has been done and 623 CCTV cameras have been installed. For the first time, vehicles of all the sector officers will be tracked via GPS,” said CEO Surendra Kumar.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will try to retain Sundergarh Lok Sabha seat — the lone seat it had won in 2014. Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram is contesting from the parliamentary constituency against BJD candidate Sunita Biswal, daughter of former Chief Minister Hemananda Biswal, and Congress candidate George Tirkey.

On the other hand, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) will defend the other four Lok Sabha seats.

Several political heavyweights including BJD Rajya Sabha members Prasanna Acharya and Achyuta Samanta, sitting Lok Sabha member from BJD Kalikesh Narayan Singhdeo, BJP National Secretary Suresh Pujari, former MP Sangeeta Singhdeo are contesting the Lok Sabha polls in the second phase.

Among the Assembly constituencies, BJD President and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is fighting from two seats — Hinjili under Aska LS constituency and Bijepur under Bargarh LS constituency.

Besides, senior Congress leader and opposition leader Narasingha Mishra is fighting from Bolangir Assembly segment while BJP legislature party leader K.V. Singhdeo is contesting from Patnagarh Assembly seat.

(With IANS inputs)