Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 5:
In view of the threat of violence in the Maoist dominated areas of the state during the coming elections, the Odisha government on Wednesday asked for additional security forces for the smooth conduct of the polls.
Odisha will have a simultaneous two-phase election for both Lok Sabha and Assembly on April 10 and 17.
“We have sought additional forces for the conduct of free and fair elections in the Maoist affected areas of the state,” the state’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Mona Sharma told media persons here after the announcement of the schedule for the general elections by Election Commission in the national capital.
Since the polls in the left wing extremism (LWE) affected region and adjoining areas are being held on the same day, the state needs additional forces over and above the 89 companies of central para-military forces already deployed in the state, she said.
“All precautionary steps are being taken in these areas. We have already identified the sensitive and hyper -sensitive booths in the state and all the district collectors and superintendents of police (SP) have been asked to place their requirement of forces,” Sharma said.
Three lakh government employees, besides security personnel, would be engaged in the conduct of the elections, she said.
A total of 2,88,80,850 people are eligible to cast their votes in Odisha, the CEO revealed.
Of the 2,88,80,850 voters, 1,50,38,350 are males, 1,38,41,394 are females and 1106 voters come under the ‘others’ category, Sharma informed, adding that 70 lakh new voters have been added this time of which 10 lakh voters’ are between 18 years to 19 years of age.