Nearly 65 per cent of voters exercised their franchise in the 106 civic bodies, while about 54 per cent people turned out to cast their votes to elect councilors to three municipal corporations for which polling was held on Thursday, the State Election Commission (SEC) said.
The polling was by and large peaceful barring some sporadic incidents of violence in isolated places, SEC A P Padhi told reporters adding that the voting percentage may go up after final reports come in.
Stating that voting in some places were delayed due to EVM glitches, 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 on the violence at Dhamnagar NAC and Bhadrak Municipality, Padhi said the decision regarding re-polling 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 civic body elections 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) The fate of 569 candidates are now sealed in the EVMs for the Mayor or Chairpersons posts while 5,842 candidates are trying their luck for the corporator’s or councilor’s posts. The counting of votes is scheduled to be held on March 26, the SEC said. This is the first time, people got an opportunity to elect the Mayors or Chairpersons directly after amendment of the municipal laws. 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 and 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, Nayagarh and Cuttack. The people of Gadakana area in BMC area gheroed one polling booth after not finding their names in the voters list. A report from Dhamnagar NAC in Bhadrak district said that a BJP supporter was seriously injured after being stabbed when he opposed booth rigging by rival party workers.
“The injured person has been shifted to SCB Meddical College Hospital in Cuttack. The situation is under control after a group clash,” said Bhadrak SP Charan Singh Meena. In another incident, BJP workers allegedly thrashed a BJD MLA’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. 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. 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.