Stage set for 3rd phase panchayat polls in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Preparations are completed for the third phase Panchayat polls in Odisha beginning tomorrow in 30 districts.

Briefing media persons here today, State Election Commission (SEC) secretary Rabindranath Sahu said a total of 53,234,993 people would exercise their franchise for the election of 1394 Panchayat Samiti members and 18,859 Ward Members in 175 Zilla Parishad (ZP) zones in 65 blocks of 30 districts.

He said the polling parties have left for their respective polling booths and will arrive at their destination by this afternoon.

Talking about security measures, Sahu said additional police force have been deployed at the sensitive booths to ward off any untoward incident and ensure free and fair polls. “Besides, elaborate security measures have been taken in the Maoist prone districts,” he added.

The SEC secretary further said that in the third phase Panchayat polls, polling would be held in Deogarh district which was scheduled in the first phase polls 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 Deogarh 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 yesterday, Sahu said the Commission has received reports on 21 incidents of violence and two incidents relating to poll disturbances.

“The Commission has received reports from the district collectors who have recommended repolling in some booths where violence was reported during polling. The Commission would take a decision after analysing these reports very soon,” he informed.

He, however, said as compared to the first phase polls, the number of violence has drastically come down in the second phase polls.