Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 14:

The State Election Commission (SEC) is considering re-poll in 44 booths spread across four districts wherein rigging or snatching of ballots and ballot boxes reported during the first-phase of the three-tier panchayat polls held in the state on Monday.

The SEC has received reports from Collectors of concerned districts to hold re-poll in 15 booths in Cuttack district, 11 in Kendrapara district, 13 in Puri district and five in Jajpur district, said an official of the SEC.

“We have received reports of rigging and snatching of ballot boxes in some places. We will take steps for re-poll in these places. Till now according to preliminary reports received by us from districts, re-poll is likely to be held in 15 places in Cuttack district, 11 places in Kendrapara district, 13 in Puri district and 5 places in Jajpur district. We have received reports from these places and we will decide on re-poll,” informed SEC Secretary Rabindranath Sahu briefing reporters here today.

“In most of the cases snatching of ballots and ballot boxes has been reported. It has mostly happened while polling parties were returning after the conduct of polls for that reason the question of re-poll has arisen,” he added.

In view of Monday’s incidents, the SEC has today issued a directive on the safe transport of ballot boxes and ballot papers and ballot materials.

“The Commission has issued instructions today to Collectors and SP to provide adequate security to polling parties while they are returning. Mobile police parties will accompany polling parties. Polling parties will not return without a police escort,” Sahu pointed out.