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Around 74% of voters in Odisha’s southern districts cast ballots in the first round of the election, which was mostly calm. When the final numbers are released, there will probably be a large rise in voter participation.

In addition to 28 Assembly constituencies, polls were taken for four Lok Sabha seats—Berhampur, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, and Koraput. Chief election official Nikunja Behari Dhal informed reporters that, except from a few small clashes reported from the Chikiti region, the voting process was mostly calm.

With an 80.22 percent voting rate, Nabarangpur had the highest polling, followed by 75.71 percent in Kalahandi and 77 percent in Koraput. With 63.34 percent of the vote, Berhampur had the lowest polling. The CEO said that Berhampur’s poor voting results were due to the overall lack of enthusiasm among urbanites to vote compared to those in rural districts.

The highest polling percentage was 85.61 percent in the Nabarangpur Assembly seat, followed by 85.20 percent in Dabugam. More than 80% of voters were registered in Jharigam, Pottangi, Kotpad, Laxmipur, and Umerkote. With a turnout of 54.14%, the Berhampur Assembly segment had the lowest participation.

The same four Lok Sabha and 28 Assembly seats had strong voting of more than 74% in the first round of the 2019 elections. At 65.89%, the Berhampur Lok Sabha seat had the lowest turnout at the time as well.

Polling was successful in Kotia, which is embroiled in a boundary dispute with Andhra Pradesh and Swabhiman Anchal, a former Maoist stronghold, where voters turned out in large numbers. However, there were reports of violence from Chikiti, where BJD and BJP supporters battled. ~

When a BJP agent was prevented from accessing a voting station by some others brandishing latherons, violence broke out. At a polling place in K Nuagaon, tensions increased as some poll workers were suspected of attempting to persuade voters to support a specific political party.

In a separate incident, several miscreants attacked Jharigam BJP candidate Narasingh Bhatra when he entered a booth to confirm claims of booth grabbing. Bhatra has filed a report with the local police station over the incident that happened in the constituency’s Deulakana hamlet. Bhatra informed the journalists that even though he cannot identify the miscreants, they were yelling BJD slogans.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) issued an order to suspend the presiding officers of three voting booths in Ganjam and to arrest two of them for gravely neglecting their duties during the election process. Dhal said, “We have directed Ganjam collector to suspend three presiding officers and additionally arrest two of them.”

He stated that the presiding officers of Chhatrapur polling station number 163 and booth number 27 are the ones who seriously neglected their duties. They’ll get an arrest in addition to a suspension. The CEO had suspended two poll workers earlier in the day, one of them being the booth presiding officer.

The CEO said that “Odisha votes” was the topic of the first round of elections, and that Kotia residents in Koraput took part in the process with great enthusiasm. According to him, 76% of voters cast ballots in nine Kotia booths till 5:00 p.m. With 86% of the vote, Talakanti polling place had the greatest voter turnout. There was a lot of voting in the Malkangiri district’s Swabhiman Anchal. He said that more than 65% of people in the region took part in the polls.

According to the CEO, there were initially some EVM glitches that required the replacement of certain control units, ballot units, and VVPATs. In the four Lok Sabha zones, 7,303 booths were used for voting. According to Dhal, polling parties have begun to reappear. Three inaccessible booths’ polling parties were flown in.

 

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