7.42% Voter Turnout By 9 AM As Odisha Votes For 6 Lok Sabha & 42 Assembly Seats

Bhubaneswar: Odisha recorded 7.42 per cent voter turnout in the first two hours of polling at 10,551 booths in six Lok Sabha and 42 Assembly seats on Saturday.

Polling began at 7 am in six Lok Sabha constituencies of Puri, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Keonjhar and Sambalpur, and 42 Assembly seats under these Parliamentary seats in the third round of voting in the state.

Sources in the Chief Electoral Officer’s (CEO) office said that around 7.43 per cent of the voters had exercised their franchise by 9 am amid brisk polling in some places.

While Keonjhar recorded highest turnout of 8.74 per cent, Dhenkanal clocked 7.95 per cent, Cuttack 7.32 per cent, Sambalpur 7.09 per cent, Puri 6.87 per cent and Bhubaneswar 6.65 per cent in first two hours of polling, the sources said.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and BJP’s Bhubaneswar MP candidate Aparajita Sarangi were among the early voters to exercised their franchise in the capital city.

A total of 383 MLA candidates including 339 male, 44 female candidates and 64 MP aspirants including 55 male candidates, 9 female candidates are in the fray.

Prominent leaders whose electoral fate will be sealed in the third round of polling include BJP stalwart and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. He is locked in an intense battle with BJD organisational  secretary Pranab Prakash Das in Sambalpur Lok Sabha seat.

Similarly, BJP MP Aparajita Sarangi is seeking re-election from Bhubaneswar, while BJP national spokespersom Sambit Patra is pitted against BJD’s Arup Patnaik in Puri Lok Sabha seat.

The office of the CEO dismissed reports about alleged booth capturing at a booth of Sarupat Primary School in Ghasipura and said some people who had gathered outside the polling station were removed from the vicinity. “The police personnel deployed have been keeping a close watch to prevent any such incident,” it said.

Over 94.48 lakh voters, including 48.30 lakh men, 46.18 lakh women, are eligible to exercise their franchise in this round. Around 21 per cent of the voters are youths.

Voting is underway in 10,551 polling stations, including about 200 model polling booths. Over 2,000 polling stations have been identified as critical and special security arrangements have been made to ensure peaceful polling in these places.

Altogether 1,500 polling stations are managed by all women polling personnel and another 30 by PWD polling personnel, sources said, adding that over 70,000 polling staff have been deployed for election management.

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