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Cong worker killed, 3 polling officials suspended in Odisha


Press Trust of India Bhubaneswar
A Congress worker was stabbed to death, while three polling personnel were suspended for violation of norms in Odisha, where the fourth and final phase of polling were conducted Monday in six Lok Sabha and 41 assembly constituencies, an election official said.
An estimated 66 per cent of 95.06 lakh voters cast their votes till 5 pm in the final phase, but the turnout is set to go up as polling was still underway in several booths, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Surendra Kumar said.
Barring Patkura assembly seat, where voting has been rescheduled to May 19 following the death of BJD candidate Bed Prakash Agarwalla, elections were successfully held in the six Lok Sabha constituencies - Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur and the 41 assembly segments that come under them, Kumar said.
According to a senior police officer, unprecedented violence was reported from several places of the six parliamentary seats.
A Congress worker was stabbed to death in Balikuda-Erasama Assembly segment of Jagatsinghpur Lok Sabha seat, while he was returning from a polling booth having cast his vote, he said.
The deceased, Lachman Behera, had recently quit the BJD to join the Congress.
"Behera was attacked with a broken bottle by unknown miscreants. He died on his way to hospital," Additional Superintendent of Police B P Mishra said, adding that an investigation is being carried out into the incident.
In Jajpur Lok Sabha constituency, three officials were suspended for entering the polling compartments on the pretext of assisting the voters.
Noting that the matter was noticed during the live webcasting of the poll process, he said stern action will be taken against the polling officials.
"Two presiding officers in Binjharpur assembly segment and another polling officer in Sukinda assembly constituency were suspended for flouting norms," the CEO said.
Clashes between the supporters of the ruling BJD and the BJP were reported from Jajpur Kendrapara and Balasore Lok Sabha constituencies, he said.
The BJP leaders accused the ruling BJD workers of indulging in poll rigging in several booths, an allegation which the election official said will have to be verified.
Bhadrak recorded the highest voter turnout at 68 per cent till 5 pm, followed by Mayurbhanj at 66 per cent and both Jajpur and Kendrapara at 65 per cent, the CEO said

Jagatsinghpur and Balasore constituencies registered lowest turnout at 64 per cent, he stated.
Keeping in view the likely movement of Cyclone Fani towards Odisha shores, the CEO said adequate arrangements are in place to guard the EVMs in the strong rooms.
"We are not sure about the probable impact of the cyclone, but the polling officials have been alerted and instructed to take proper measures well in time for the security of EVMs," he said.
Of the over 95.06 lakh electorate in the fourth phase, 45.98 lakh are women and 595 of the third gender, Kumar said.
Altogether 52 contestants, including 12 women, are in the fray in six Lok Sabha seats, while 336 candidates, 34 of them women, are contesting the polls from 41 assembly constituencies, he said.
Prominent among those in the fray are BJP national vice-president Baijayant Panda and Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Niranjan Patnaik.
"More than 3,000 of 10,792 polling stations, spread over eight districts, were identified as critical. While CCTVs were installed in 554 polling booths, around 1,216 poll vehicles were fitted with GPS system to track the movement of reserve EVMs," Kumar added.

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First Published: Apr 29 2019 | 8:20 PM IST

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