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Orissa gears up for first phase of elections

In less than 24 hrs, Orissa goes to polls to elect its representatives to Lok Sabha and the state Assembly in the first phase of the poll.
PTI | By Press Trust of India, Bhubaneswar
PUBLISHED ON APR 19, 2004 01:38 PM IST

In less than 24 hours, Orissa goes to polls to elect its representatives to Lok Sabha and the state Assembly in the first phase of the elections.

In phase one, polls are being held for 11 of the 21 Lok Sabha and 77 of the 147 Assembly constituencies.

Official sources said that all preparations for the polls had been completed with security tightened in the Naxalite-infested southern belt bordering Andhra Pradesh and Chhatisgarh.

Simultaneous elections to the Parliament and Assembly are being held in the state after a gap of 33 years. It was last held in Orissa in 1971.

For the first time, the elections are being fought in the state between two alliances - the well-entrenched BJD-BJP coalition and the five party alliance led by the Congress. The other alliance partners of the Congress are CPI, CPI(M), JMM and Orissa Gana Parishad (OGP).

In the past, the Congress always contested the polls alone.

Elections are scheduled tomorrow in the Lok Sabha constituencies of Berhampur, Koraput (ST), Nabarangpur (ST), Phulbani (SC), Kalahandi, Balangir, Sambalpur, Deogarh, Dhenkanal, Sundargarh (ST) and Keonjhar (ST).

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