Voters of two villages in Malkangiri cast votes after 15 yrs

Malkangiri/Bhubaneswar: Long queues of voters were seen outside polling booths in Maoist-prone Badigata and Marigata of Kalimela block in Malkangiri district during the fourth phase panchayat polls today to exercise their franchise where locals had stayed away from voting process since last 15 years.

Even Arjun, once known as a dreaded Maoist leader, was seen following the democratic system and distributing voter slip in front of polling booths.

In Koraput district, locals cast their votes at the Naikguda booth built temporarily in Baipariguda throwing away their fears of Maoists and exercised their franchise.

A resident of Badigeta said, “Without fearing the torture, which has been inflicted by naxals upon us asking to boycott the rural polls, we are exercising our franchise at present peacefully at the booth.”

Asked about to whom she will vote, a female first-time voter replied, “We will vote for those who would work for upliftment of poor and weaker sections of the society and stand beside them.”

Expressing similar views, another first-time voter stated, “We will vote for those who will carry out development work in our village.”

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Meanwhile, prominent leaders and ministers stood in poll queues to cast their votes.

Agriculture Minister and Pipili legislator Pradeep Maharathy, minister Lal Bihari Himrika at Benta in Rayagada district, BJD legislator Rajanikant Singh at Gotamara in Angul, BJP’s Pratap Sadangi at Dhobasila and Congress MLA Jogesh Singh at Sargipali in Sundargarh district exercised their franchise during the fourth phase rural polls.

Jogesh Singh, Congress MLA, said, “Politicians who will take leadership and work towards the betterment of people, they will win the trust of voters. People do not vote because of any trends or campaigning done by any film stars.”