Odisha parties welcome dates for simultaneous polls

Bhubaneswar: Major political parties in Odisha here on Sunday welcomed the announcement of poll dates for the general and assembly elections in the state.

Odisha will witness Lok Sabha and Assembly elections simultaneously in four phases — April 11, 18, 23 and 29.

“I welcome EC’s announcement for elections to the Odisha Assembly and the Lok Sabha. Pleased to pledge wholehearted support for the electoral process that is the foundation of our democracy,” tweeted Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) President Naveen Patnaik.

Patnaik will be vying for the fifth consecutive term in the 2019 Assembly polls.

State BJP vice-president Sameer Mohanty said the party was fully prepared for elections and added the four-phased vote would help candidates and voters as well.

Welcoming announcement of poll dates, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee President Niranjan Patnaik tweeted, “People of Odisha, mark your calendars. We have to come out in large numbers and vote for change.”

Odisha has 21 Lok Sabha and 147 Assembly constituencies. The term for Odisha Assembly ends on June 11.

Chief Electoral Officer Surendra Kumar said they were fully prepared to hold the simultaneous elections smoothly and peacefully.

As per the final voter list, released in January, there are over 3.18 crore voters comprising 1,63,37,310 males and 1,54,60,545 females.