Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, April 9:
With barely hours left for the first phase of polls in Odisha, the Election Commission has beefed up security in the Maoist affected areas, most of which are going to polls tomorrow.
While voters will cast votes for 10 Lok Sabha and 70 Assembly constituencies, more than 50 of the 70 Assembly segments are in Maoist-affected areas. Out of 17,266 booths, 2057 booths have been categorised as sensitive, said sources in the Chief Electoral Office.
The EC has engaged 429 companies of police force, besides the Central Para Military Force (CPMF) personnel deployed to maintain law and order in these areas.
Tight security arrangements have been made in the belt where the extremists have given a call for poll boycott. In vulnerable polling stations, the security forces would operate in a cluster manner, Sharma added.
The timing of polling has been reduced by two hours in 56 Assembly segments. While the polling time will be 7 AM to 4 PM in 56 Assembly segments, it will be 7 AM to 6 PM in 16 others, said Sharma.
An electorate of 1.36 crore voters, including 66,62,309 women, are expected to exercise their franchise on April 10.
The polling process will also be video graphed in some booths.