45 per cent polling in Odisha till 2 PM

Bhubaneswar, Apr 17: An estimated 45 per cent voters exercised their franchise till 2 PM for the simultaneous second and last phase of the elections to 11 Lok Sabha and 77 Assembly constituencies in Odisha today.

Angul district recorded the highest polling of 52.3 per cent, followed by Keonjhar with 51 per cent and the lowest was over 32 per cent in Puri district, official sources said.

Among the early bird voters were Assam Governor J B Patnaik and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Jaydev Jena and his predecessor and Congress stalwart Niranjan Patnaik.

Barring stray incidents in Brahmagiri in Puri district, Khandapada in Nayagarh districts and allegations of rigging Aul in Kendrapara district, voting remained peaceful elsewhere in the constituencies in 13 districts in coastal and northern districts.

Altogether 10 persons were injured in a clash between two groups at a booth at Gopalpur village under Brahmagiri area in Puri district with the police restoring order.

A similar incident took place at a booth at Jagannathprasad in Khandapada area when a presiding officer was allegedly manhandled by local people who accused him of persuading people to vote for the ruling BJD, they said.

Sources said the officer was later removed.

An election agent of the Congress was arrested for damaging the EVM in a booth in Mulasahi village under Aul assembly segment in Kendrapara district.

Allegations of rigging in Aul area of Kendrapara were received by the office of the chief electoral officer here, they said.

Reports of delay in voting were received from some places due to non-working EVMs in Nahagarh and Kakatpur areas.

Repolling was also being held in 22 booths in eight Assembly segments where polling was not held due to various reasons, including snatching of EVMs, during the first phase of voting on April 10.