PURI: 174 candidates are in the fray from 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha, while 1,137 candidates are in the fray from 147 assembly seats in Odisha, the results of which will be declared on May 23, Thursday. The counting of votes will begin at 8 am on May 23, Thursday. This time, following the Supreme Court's order, the Election Commission will tally the Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips with five EVMs per assembly segment, which can delay the counting process for over 5 hours or more.
The state of Odisha, which has 21 Lok Sabha seats, went to polls in four phases of 2019 Lok Sabha election beginning from April 11 till April 29.
Lok Sabha constituencies which went to polls in the first phase on April 11 are - Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Berhampur, Koraput. In the second phase on April 18, voting was held in Bargarh, Sundargarh, Bolangir, Kandhamal, Aska. All the constituencies in Sambalpur, Keonjhar, Dhenkanal, Cuttack, Puri and Bhubaneswar regions voted in the third phase on April 23. All the constituencies in Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur regions voted in the fourth phase on April 29.
The total number of electorates eligible to vote for the Odisha Assembly and Lok Sabha elections stood at 3.18 crore. Of the total 3.18 crore electorates, 1.63 crores are males while 1.54 crore are females. The state also registered over 5.45 lakh first-time voters, who come in the age group of 18 to 19 years.
The state electoral body had set up 37,606 polling stations for the smooth, free and fair conduct of the polls in Odisha. As many as 4,154 polling stations were set up in urban regions while 33,452 polling stations lie in rural regions of the state.
The state witnessed a triangular contest between the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress. BJD chief Naveen Patnaik is one of the strongest contenders. Besides, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, former BJD leader Baijayant Panda, who recently joined hands with the saffron party, Congress’ Niranjan Patnaik and Narasingha Mishra are also in the fray. BJD’s Bhartruhari Mahtab and former state finance minister Prasanna Acharya are also among the prominent faces to watch out for.
In 2014 general elections, the BJD had secured 20 seats, the BJP one and the Congress had drawn a blank.