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65% Polling In ULB Poll

Bhubaneswar: State Election Commissioner Aditya Prasad Padhi has said that nearly 65 per cent of voters exercised their franchise in the 106 Urban Local Bodies while about 54 percent people turned out to cast their votes in three municipal corporations polling for which was held on Thursday amidst sporadic report of violence.

The polling was by and large peaceful barring some incidents in isolated places, SEC Mr.Padhi told Media.

He said that the voting percentage may go up after final report is availed. Stating that voting in some places were delayed due to EVM glitches.

Mr.Padhi said the SEC has ordered re-polling in ward number-8 under Umarkote Notified Area Council (NAC)  in Nabarangpur district on Friday due to wrong ballot paper for the post of chairperson.

Replying to a question the violence at Dhamnagar NAC and Bhadrak Municipality, SEC Mr.Padhi said the decision regarding repolling in these places would be taken after receiving reports from the district collector. 

As many as 40.55 lakh voters were eligible to cast their votes in 109 ULBs including the three municipal corporations of Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Berhampur.

While 65 per cent of voter turn out was registered in 106 NACs and Municipalities, the voting was low in three corporations, he said. While Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) reported 65 per cent voters turn out, it was 50 per cent in Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and 47 per cent in Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BeMC).

While fate of 569 candidates are sealed in the EVMs for the Mayor, Chairpersons. At least 5842 candidates are in the fray for the Corporator or Councilors posts. The counting of votes is scheduled to be held on March 26, the SEC said. 

The ULB polls, which was held after a gap of about 9 years, was however, interesting as the people for the third time got opportunity to elect the Mayors or Chairpersons directly. In 1979 and 1992 Chairpersons of Urban Bodies were elected directly. In both cases Biju Patnaik did this for strengthening Urban Bodies Chiefs.

Meanwhile, the SEC said that as many as 73 candidates have been elected to the posts of Councilors or Corporators uncontested. While the ruling BJD candidates won the polls smoothly without any contest, one each from BJP aand Congress also got elected in the process. Independents were elected uncontested in two places, the SEC said. 

Meanwhile, reports of isolated violence were received from the districts of Ganjam, Bhadrak, Puri, Bolangir, Kandhamal and Cuttack. The people of Gadakana area in BMC area gheroed the polling booth in ward number.

Report from Dhamnagar NAC in Bhadrak district said that a BJP supporter was seriously injured due to stabbing when he opposed booth rigging by rival party workers.

“The injured person has been shifted to SCB Medical College Hospital in Cuttack. The situation is under control after a group clash,” said Bhaddrak SP Charan Singh Meena.

 In another incident, the of BJP workers allegedly thrashed Patnagarh MLA Saroj Meher’s brother Pradeep Meher for allegedly distributing money among voters to influence them at Kolpada in Bolangir district.

A man was also assaulted by a group of people in ward no. 53 of Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) when he was allegedly distributing cash among the voters. He was handed over to police.

In Nayagarh, an independent candidate’s husband and his associate attacked Khandapada block Vice Chairman Sisir Sahu in front of a booth at Khandapada Women’s College over political rivalry. Police started an investigation into the incident on the basis of a complaint filed by Sahu.

A report from Ganjam district said that 3 BJP workers were allegedly injured in a group clash in front of the party’s office in Chikiti NAC. Four bikes and a car belonging to BJP state executive committee member Manoranjan Dyan Samantara, were damaged.

Tension also prevailed at Ankuli Bauri Sahi under Ward 40 of Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BeMC) after the agents of different political parties found an Electronic Voting machine (EVM) inside a car parked outside booth 233.  BeMC’s deputy commissioner Adwitya Swain explained that the EVM was kept on standby to be used in case any machine malfunctioned.

A BJP polling agent also suffered injuries in an attack by opponents at booth-9 of Ward No-7 in Pipili in Puri district. The seriously injured agent has been admitted to the Pipili government hospital, police sources said.