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Centenarian casts vote in Odisha Panchayat polls

Kendrapara: Hundred and six year-old, wheelchair-bound Mallhi Baral, cast her vote at a polling booth for the first phase of the three-tier Panchayat elections in Odisha today.

Baral had never given a miss to vote since the first General Election of 1952. Accompanied by her grandson, she stepped out of her house on a wheelchair to the polling booth at Kurujanga village.

As a citizen of the country, it s my duty to vote during elections. I have been doing it since the past 65 years. It could be my last vote as I would not be alive to see the next General Election , Baral, who has lost mobility and is partially paralytic, said in stammering voice.

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“My grandmother has never skipped vote. She insisted on casting her vote even this time. I accompanied her to the polling station. With due permission of polling officials, I helped her in casting her imprint on the ballot paper”, her grandson Mrutyunjay Baral said.

She was among the first voters to turn up at the polling station.

“As voting is a constitutional right, it should not go waste. Everybody should vote to make our democracy vibrant”, she said.

Panchayat elections will be held in five phases in the state on February 13, 15, 17, 19 and 21 respectively.

The first phase polling will be held in 188 Zilla Parishad seats spread over 65 blocks in 29 districts where 716 candidates are contesting.

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