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Orissa heat wave kills two polling officials

Soaring temperatures claimed the lives of two polling officials in Orissa, during the first round of elections on Tuesday.
PTI | By Indo-Asian News Service, Bhubaneshwar
UPDATED ON APR 20, 2004 08:11 PM IST

Soaring temperatures have claimed the lives of two polling officials in Orissa, which began its first round of elections on Tuesday.

A polling official on duty in Keonjhar district died of the heat on Tuesday when elections were under way in 11 parliamentary constituencies and 77 assembly segments.

According to sources, the official was coming to Keonjhar from Sundergarh district to join duty. He complained about feeling unwell and was taken to the nearest hospital where he died.

His name is yet to be determined.

The second official Gourisankar Majhi's body was found in a polling booth in Dangarpada in Bolangir district on Monday. A sunstroke is suspected to have felled Majhi.

In another similar incident, polling official Sadananda Sahu was on duty in the Kantabanji assembly constituency in Bolangir district when he complained of feeling unwell. He was admitted to the Titilagarh hospital.

Day temperatures have crossed 40 degrees Celsius in many parts of the state with the Titilagarh town last week recording the highest, 47 degrees Celsius.

Polling began at 7 am on Tuesday and officials reported that people were coming to vote in large numbers.

In view of the boycott call given by Maoist guerrilla groups, state police sealed at least 21 roads connecting the state to neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

Besides, two helicopters were pressed into service to watch over polling in trouble-zones, an official said.

Eleven ministers -- one from the central Government and 10 from the state -- were seeking re election on Tuesday.

The second phase of polling covering 10 Lok Sabha and 70 assembly constituencies in the state will be held on April 26.

This is the first time since 1971 that Orissa is having simultaneous parliamentary and assembly polls.

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