Bhubaneswar: Over 70 per cent of voters
exercised their franchise in the fourth phase of panchayat
polls in Orissa which witnessed stray incidents of
violence and booth capturing in some places.
"An estimated 70.66 per cent of the 46.47 lakh
electorate voted in the fourth phase of panchayat elections,"
state Election Commissioner Ajit Tripathy told reporters here.
Jagatsinghpur and Gajapati districts registered the
maximum voter turnout of 78 per cent, while Keonjhar district
recorded the minimum 61 per cent polling.
The fourth phase of polling was held for 174 zilla
parishad zones and 1,151 gram panchayats. The elections for
the last phase are slated to be held on February 19.
Polling passed off by and large peacefully barring
stray incidents of violence and attempted booth capturing in
districts like Cuttack, Nayagarh, Jajpur and Kendrapara.
In Ganjam district the body of a 58-year-old man was
recovered from Tulasipalli in Diha Padhal gram panchayat under
The deceased was identified as Dandapani Bisoi, father
of Manoranjan Bisoi, one of the accused persons, arrested in
connection with the murder of Lalu Gouda, son of a candidate
for Sarpanch post in Diha Padhal.
However, police was not certain whether Dandapani was
killed in poll related violence when a mob went on rampage in
the village after the death of Lalu yesterday.
In remote and Maoist-hit Malkangiri district, people
belonging to Konda Reddy community boycotted the election in
three booths in Kalimela area protesting non-fulfilment of
tribal status to them, official sources said.
In Sundargarh district people in Sagarpally in
Mangeshpur gram panchayat in Tangarpally block boycotted
polls, demanding their place be declared a revenue village.
Bari and Jajpur blocks in Jajpur district witnessed
incidents of violence, booth capturing and snatching of ballot
boxes, sources said.
Miscreants snatched ballot boxes from 7 booths in
Golkund?panchayat under the Bari block and dumped them in
nearby ponds. They also snatched ballot boxes from two booths
of Ratalanga under the same block in the district and dumped
them in a well.
Miscreants snatched ballot boxes from two booths in
Jahanpur and Chhatis Debil of Jajpur block. Loot of ballot
papers was also reported from two booths in Bandhapada and
Nurupur panchayat of Bari block.