Bhubaneswar, Apr 11 UNI | 4 months ago

Notwithstanding the Maoists threat to boycott the poll, a record number of voters have turned out yesterday to exercise their franchise in the first phase poll in mostly the Maoists infested districts in Odisha to elect candidate to 10 Lok Sabha and 70 Assembly constituencies.

There has been a rise of nearly 8.5 per cent polling in the first phase of elections in Odisha this time compared to the 2009 elections and interestingly the polling percentage has gone up in all the Maoist infested districts compared to the last elections.

Malkangiri, the hot bed of Maoist activities, has shown a rise of nearly 28 per cent polling in comparison e to the 2009 elections. While in 2009 only 41 per cent of the voters in the district turned out to cast their ballots, this time a record 69 per cent have exercised their franchise despite the Maoist call to boycott the elections. Similarly, the other Maoist hit districts such as Koraput, Nabarangpur, Rayagada, Nuapada, Gajapati, Kandhmal, Boudh and Ganjam have shown a remarkable rise in the polling percentage during the election yesterday.

There has been a rise of 13 per cent in polling in Koraput district(76.20) followed by 11 per cent in Rayagada (77.40), 10 per cent in Nabarangpur(81.89), eight per cent reach in Boudh(81 per cent) and Kandhmal(73.15 ). Nabarangpur district registered the highest poll percentage of 81.89 per cent followed by Boudh(81 per cent), Jharsuguda (80 percent), Sonepur(78.65) and Deogarh (78.08 per cent). Out of the 19 districts which went to the poll in the first phase to elect 10 Lok Sabha and 70 Assembly candidates yesterday, as many as 16 districts have recorded polling over 70 per cent.

Ironically, the Ganjam district in South Odisha represented by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik recorded 64.5 per cent, the lowest among all the 19 districts. Besides, Ganjam, the other two districts where the polling was less than 70 per cent are Nayagarh and Malkangiri.

In the last Lok Sabha and Assembly elections also Ganjam district has recorded the lowest percentage of 55.7 per cent polling after the Naxalite affected Malkangiri district(41 per cent). But this time the Malkangiri surpassed the Ganjam district in registering high polling percentage of 69 per cent, almost four per cent more than Ganjam district.

(Posted on 11-04-2014)