Bhubaneswar: Barring a few minor incidents in Jajpur district, the third phase of voting for election of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) is going smoothly in 29 districts. At least 45 per cent of voters’ turnout was recorded till 12 PM.
The polling began at 7 AM under tight security. As per preliminary reports, barring few booths of Jajpur district, the third phase election is going on smoothly in the State, said Secretary to State Election Commission (SEC), RN Sahu.
The third phase voting was underway at 18,495 booths in 1,382 Gram Panchayats under 63 blocks of 29 districts. Out of the total booths, 2,773 booths have been identified as sensitive booths. As many as 679 candidates are in fray for the 171 Zilla Parishad seats.
As per reports, three media persons have been allegedly assaulted in Jajpur district. The three journalists of an electronic media house have been attacked by unidentified miscreants while they were going to cover the alleged loot of ballot boxes from two booths at Bachala Panchayat under Binjharpur block in the district, sources said.
Mr.Sahu said the Commission has yet to receive any report on the incident. The district collector will be asked to submit a detailed report on this after completion of the voting, he said.
Similarly, a group clash erupted at booth no 14 in Jari Panchayat under Binjharpur Block of Jajpur district over the allegations of rigging. As per reports, two police personnel were injured after some miscreants pelted stones at the cops while they were trying to bring the situation under control in the area.
It was also alleged that the Block Development Officer (BDO) of Korei was attacked in front of a polling booth at Soti village under Goleipur Panchayat in Jajpur district when the BDO had rushed to the spot after getting reports of booth rigging in the village. Voting has been halted at some other booths in the district due to various reasons.
The State Election Commission has already decided to conduct re-polling at 45 booths, where election was disturbed during the first two phases of polling. The re-polling will be held from 9 am to 3 pm on February 23 under tight security at the booths.
The police, so far, arrested 62 persons in the district in connection with poll disruption incidents during the first two phases of Panchayat election in the State.