Bhubaneswar: The first phase of polling of the three tier panchayat elections concluded today. The pollings began from 7 am and concluded in afternoon. Apart from Deogarh, polling was conducted for 188 zilla parishads of 29 districts today where 716 candidates are testing their fate.
The first phase of the elections was conducted for 1506 panchayats for the seats of sarpanch, samiti members and ward members at 20,369 polling booths. Counting began at 1 pm. The sensitive and hypersensitive booths were installed with CCTV and videography. Every poll station had two police officers, a presiding officers and two polling officials. For security during voting 1.1 lakh policemen and poll officials were deployed.
Poll Violence: Violence was reported at some booths before and post voting. Mao violence was witnessed in Bolangir’s Khaprakhol where Maoists had burnt tyres and vehicles and asked people for not taking part in polls through a poster. In Nrutanga panchayat, Mahanga group clash occurred in which a candidate for zilla parishad member and five others have been detained. In Jayram panchayat of Nischintakoili, miscreants set a booth on fire in which important pol papers got burnt. Poll violence has also been reported in Brahmagiri. A booth in Boudh’s Kantamal was captured.
Abstaining: In many regions, villagers abstained from voting. These include Keonjhar’s K Balipal were villagers staged dharna for lack of development initiatives. Similarly, villagers abstained from voting in Bhogorai. Some panchayats in Umarkot, Chitarkonda of Malkangiri where Maoists had threatened voters and Bhamil panchayat also did not see any voting.
Villagers of Daruthenga in Bhubaneswar outskirts also abstained from voting demanding shifting of dumping yard of the city from their village.