Bhubaneswar: Four-phase Lok Sabha and Assembly elections commenced in Odisha as 4 parliamentary constituencies– Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Berhampur and Koraput– and 28 assembly seats went to polls in the first phase today.
Those assembly constituencies are Nuapada, Khariar, Umerkote, Jharigam, Nabarangpur, Dabugam, Lanjigarh, Junagarh, Dharamgarh, Bhawanipatna, Narla, Chhatrapur, Gopalpur, Berhampur, Digapahandi, Chikiti, Mohana, Paralakhemundi, Gunupur, Bissam Cuttack, Rayagada, Laxmipur, Kotpad, Jeypore, Koraput, Pottangi, Malkangiri and Chitrakonda.
Polling is being held from 7 am onwards at 7,233 booths. As many as 60,03,707 voters, out of which 29,72,925 are male, 30,30,222 female and 560 third gender, will exercise their franchise in the first phase.
A total of 2,375 booths have been identified as ‘Critical Polling Stations’, where security arrangements have been tightened with Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) being deployed at 777 of those.
While 26 candidates are in the fray to contest for 4 Lok Sabha seats, there are 191 candidates in 28 Assembly segments for the first phase. Of the 26 Lok Sabha candidates, only two are women while among 191 Assembly candidates, 16 are women.
Security has been beefed up in Malkangiri and Koraput districts to check Maoist activities. In a bid to ensure an incident-free polling, police, paramilitary forces, flying squads, static surveillance teams, poll observers, videography teams and Excise sleuths are present in all Assembly constituencies.
Notably, Lok Sabha and Assembly elections will be held simultaneously in Odisha in four phases on April 11, 18, 23 and 29. Counting of votes will be held on May 23.