Panchayat election: Polling begins for third phase

Bhubaneswar: For third phase Panchayat polls in Odisha, polling began at 7 am on Friday. It will continue till 12 noon, officials said.

A total of 53,23,993 people would exercise their franchise for the election of 1394 Panchayat Samiti members and 18,859 Ward Members in 175 Zilla Parishad (ZP) zones of 65 blocks in 30 districts.

Official sources said additional police forces have been deployed at sensitive booths to ward off any untoward incident and ensure free and fair polls.

State Election Commission (SEC) secretary Rabindranath Sahu said, “Elaborate security measures have been taken in the Maoist prone districts.”

Sahu stated that in the third phase, polling would be held in Deogarh district which was scheduled in the first phase but was deferred due to security reasons.

“Elections would be held for 26 Sarpanches, 26 Panchayat Samiti members and 312 Ward Members in two Zilla Parishad zones of Riamal block in which 74,163 people would exercise their franchise. Three-tier security arrangements have been put in place in the district to maintain law and order during the polls,” he pointed out.

Giving details of poll related violence during the second phase polls which concluded on Wednesday, Sahu said the Commission has received reports on 21 incidents of violence and two incidents relating to poll disturbances.