78.6% polling in third phase of Odisha Panchayat Polls

Bhubaneswar: Barring a lot of incidents, the third phase of panchayat elections was completed in Odisha with a turnout of approximately 78.6%, an official said here on Monday.

At least 78.6%t out of 56 lakh voters exercised their franchise in this phase. However, the polling percentage may go up as the final report is yet to come, State Election Commission said.

Reportedly, Nabarangpur reported the highest voter turnout in the third phase with 86.33%. In 2017, voter turnout was 77.23% in Phase III while in in 2007, voter turnout was 74% in Phase III, added reports.

In the second phase of panchayat elections held on Wednesday, 71 per cent polling was recorded.

The polling began at 7 am and continued till 1 pm. However, in places where voters were seen standing in queue, they were allowed to cast their votes after the deadline. The elections were held at 18,495 booths in 1382 panchayats in 63 blocks across the state, he said.

In view of violent incidents reported on the first and second day of polling, the poll panel had asked the DGP to ensure that the law and order situation is maintained during the third phase of polling.

It is to be noted that security personnel detected a live tiffin bomb suspected to be planted by Maoists at a bridge near the Niyamgiri hill in Rayagada district. Later, the bomb was defused and security has been tightened in the entire area, police said.

Adding to it, three journalists were brutally assaulted in Jajpur while they were covering the third phase of the Odisha Panchayat polls. The three journalists had gone to cover the alleged loot of ballot boxes from two booths no 4 and 6 at Bachala Panchayat under Binjharpur block when they were brutally assaulted by some unidentified miscreants. The miscreants reportedly threw the boxes in a nearby pond. The vehicles of the journalists were also reportedly ransacked.

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