An estimated 64.05 per cent of the total 95.06 lakh voters exercised their franchise during the fourth and final phase of simultaneous polling on Monday in six Lok Sabha and 41 assembly constituencies in Odisha. Polling is not being held in Patkura assembly seat, where voting will be held on May 19 following the death of the BJD candidate.
Long queues were seen outside the polling stations before voting commenced at 7 am. However, technical glitches in EVMs delayed polling in around 60 booths where voting got under way after the snags were rectified.
Elaborate arrangements were in place to ensure free and fair polling in the six Lok Sabha constituencies of Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur and the 41 assembly seats that went to polls in the Phase 4.
Despite stepped up security personnel deployment, clashes broke out between the BJD and BJP supporters in Jajpur, Kendrapara and Balasore Lok Sabha seats. Allegations of rigging attempts in some booths were made by BJP leaders and poll officials were verifying the charge.
A Congress worker was stabbed to death in Balikuda-Erasama are of Jagatsinghpur seat while he was returning from a polling booth. The victim, Lachman Behera, had recently quit the BJD to join the Congress.
The electoral fortunes of 388 candidates, including BJP national vice-president Baijayant Panda and Odisha PCC president Niranjan Patnaik, will be decided in this phase. Total 52 contestants, including 12 women, are in the fray in six Lok Sabha seats, while there are 336 candidates, 34 of them women, in the 41 assembly constituencies.
Of the over 95.06 lakh electorate, around 45.98 lakh are women and 595 voters are transgenders. Around 15,450 voters are service electors. As many as 72,363 personnel have been deployed in 10,792 booths spread across the eight districts, where polling is being held.
Altogether 3,092 polling stations have been identified as critical and central armed police forces deployed to ensure smooth voting. CCTVs have been installed in 554 polling booths, 595 micro observers appointed and around 1,216 poll vehicles fitted with GPS system have been deployed to track the movement of reserve EVMs
In Kendrapara Lok Sabha constituency where the BJP had demanded tight security arrangements, additional security force has been deployed to ensure peaceful polling.
In a first, four polling stations are being manned by differently abled persons. Around 1.86 lakh differently abled voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in the final phase of polls. As many as 105 polling booths are being handled exclusively by women staff in the last phase of polls in Odisha.