Second phase of Panchayat polls underway in Odisha; 43% polling till 12 pm

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About 43 per cent of the 62.10 lakh voters cast their votes till 12 p.m. in the second phase of the Panchayat elections in Odisha on Friday, an official said here.

Voting was underway in 186 Zilla Parishad zones in 68 blocks of the state.

The polling began at 7 a.m. and will continue till 1 p.m.

As per preliminary reports, barring two booths of Jagatsinghpur district, the voting is progressing smoothly in the state, said secretary to State Election Commission (SEC), RN Sahu.

It is also continuing on a peaceful note in the disputed Kotia area of Koraput district. About 40 per cent polling has been recorded in the Kotia Panchayat till 12 p.m, said Sahu.

Both Odisha and Andhra Pradesh are engaged in a five-decade-long tussle over the ownership of 21 of the 28 villages in Kotia Panchayat and the case is pending in the Supreme Court. Last year, Andhra Pradesh conducted Panchayat polls in six of the 21 disputed villages of Kotia.

Voting is on at 20,436 booths in 1,514 Panchayats of 68 blocks across the state. Voters were seen standing in queues before polling booths to exercise their franchise.

The security was tightened in the second phase as violence incidents were reported from 25 booths during the first phase of polling on Wednesday.

A total of 240 platoons of force, 1753 mobile patrolling parties along with district police officers have been deployed all over the State for smooth conduct of the second phase of elections.

The police had arrested 36 persons in three districts for resorting to violence during the first phase poll. While 16 people have been arrested in Puri district, 14 were arrested in Jajpur and 6 in Dhenkanal district in connection with poll disruption incidents.

The Commission has received proposals for re-polling at 11 booths in Jajpur district, five booths each in Puri and Bhadrak districts and four booths in Dhenkanal district, officials said.

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