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Saturday, Nov 23, 2019

Lok Sabha election 2019: 17% polling in Odisha as EVM snags hit polling process

In Balasore, EVM and VVPAT glitches were reported from 20 booths while in eight booths in Jajpur district had similar problems.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Apr 29, 2019 12:46 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Bhubaneswar
EVM glitches were reported from 10 booths each in Kendrapara and Mayurbhanj Lok Sabha seats.
EVM glitches were reported from 10 booths each in Kendrapara and Mayurbhanj Lok Sabha seats.(HT File photo)
         

Voting for the fourth and final phase of polling for six Lok Sabha and 41 assembly constituencies in Odisha began on Monday amid reports of technical glitches in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPATs) leading to delays.

Polling will continue till 5pm in these constituencies spread over eight districts of the state. Over 95 lakh voters are eligible to cast their votes in the 10,792 booths to decide the fate of 388 candidates in this phase. While 52 candidates are in the fray for the Lok Sabha seats, 336 candidates are fighting for assembly segments.

Officials in the Election Commission said 17% of the voters had cast their votes by 11am.

In the Bhadrak Lok Sabha seat, voting was delayed due to a snag in EVMs in 22 booths while in the Jagatsinghpur parliamentary constituency similar problems were reported from ten booths. In Balasore, EVM and VVPAT glitches were reported from 20 booths while in eight booths in Jajpur district had similar problems.

In Jajpur district, collector Ranjan Das suspended presiding officer Baikunthanath Mallick for allegedly influencing voters in a polling booth in Binjharpur block and polling officer Janardhan Prusty in Sukinda block. The collector also ordered Mallick’s arrest.

EVM glitches were reported from 10 booths each in Kendrapara and Mayurbhanj Lok Sabha seats. In a polling booth in Dharmasala under the Jajpur parliamentary constituency, a voter allegedly smashed an EVM.

Chief Electoral Officer Surendra Kumar said steps were being taken to address the issues in the EVMs.

Director general of police RP Sharma asked Kendrapara’s superintendent of police to probe the allegations of booth rigging after a video clip of a man allegedly influencing voters and casting multiple votes at a booth in Aul assembly constituency went viral.

In another video, the husband of Pattamundai panchayat samiti head was found distributing cash among voters in Gunupur village under Gangaram panchayat on Sunday night.

Nearly 1,000 Dalits belonging to 302 families at Bargadia Dalitsahi of Jajpur’s Sukinda area boycotted polls over what they said were a false assurance of the district administration to shift them from Kalinganagar industrial area in Jajpur. A voter allegedly smashed an EVM inside booth number 173 of Dharmasala under Jajpur Lok Sabha constituency.

The fate of four housewives, an Odia actor-turned-politician, two businessmen-turned politicians, an RSS old timer, a doctor and a former state administrative service officer will be decided on Monday.

But the most high-pitched battle is being fought in the Kendrapara Lok Sabha seat where the four-time member of Parliament and former Biju Janata Dal leader Baijayant Jay Panda is contesting on a BJP ticket against Odia actor-turned-politician Anubhav Mohanty of the ruling party in the state.

Though Mohanty is a lightweight, the actual battle is being fought between chief minister Naveen Patnaik and his bete noire Panda, who was suspended from the BJD last year. Pand, who subsequently resigned from the BJD joined the Bharatiya Janata Party last month and was made its national vice-president.

The votes will be counted on May 23.