Odisha Panchayat Polls: Voting for 4th phase of election begins today

Bhubaneswar: The fourth phase of the panchayat elections begins in Odisha as polling commences at 7 AM on Tuesday with strict Covid protocols and tight security.

Around 51.31 lakh voters will cast their ballots in 17,089 booths in 1,254-gram panchayats in 64 blocks across 27 districts in the state.

The SEC has identified 2,563 booths as sensitive booths and tight security measures have been put in place in these booths. The sensitive and highly sensitive booths are being continuously monitored.

Following incidents of violence in the first three phases of Panchayat polls, the Odisha police has tightened the security for the fourth phase to be held today.

The police have deployed 257 platoons of force and 1,473 mobile patrolling parties along with district police officials for the fourth-phase polls.

In the third phase of the Odisha panchayat election, journalists were brutally assaulted in Jajpur while they were covering the voting. The journalists have been identified as Debashis Sahoo, Gulshan Ali Nawaz and Bijay Sahoo from leading private Odia channels.

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.

Later, the police have arrested 82 persons in connection with poll related incidents. While 43 persons have been arrested in Jajpur district, 9 people have been arrested in Dhenkanal district, six in Jagatsinghpur and 24 in Puri district.

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