Repolling ordered in 57 wards

Bhubaneswar: Repolling was on Sunday ordered in 57 wards spread over 10 districts following reports of irregularities in first phase of three-tier panchayat polls, even as two choppers were sought for deployment of security forces in Maoist-hit and remote areas.

The repolling would be held in 57 wards of 14 blocks and 30 gram panchayats on different days between today and February 19, state election commissioner Ajit Tripathy said.

While repolling would be held in wards located in Malkangiri district today, in districts like Bhadrak and Jajpur it would be conducted on February 18 and in Ganjam, Kendrapara and Puri on February 19, he said. Puri district has the maximum number of 31 wards where repolling would be held, he said.

Repolling was necessitated in these wards following incidents like attempted booth capturing, snatching and loot of ballot boxes and tearing of ballot papers during the first phase of polling held yesterday, official sources said.

In order to ensure smooth and peaceful voting during repoll and the remaining four phases, the state election commission has recommended to the government to provide two helicopters for movement and deployment of security forces in Maoist-hit and farflung areas of districts like Malkangiri and Koraput, Tripathy said. He said elaborate security arrangements have been made for the remaining phases of polling.