The Urban Local Body (ULB) Polls began in Odisha amidst tight security arrangements. Voting is being held for 66 NACs and Municipalities across the state. An estimated 18 lakh voters will cast their ballot in 1,968 booths to elect 1,103 councilors. In total, 3,893 candidates are in fray in 2013 ULB Polls. For the first time, the newly-formed Berhampur Municipal Corporation will go to polls.
Only 20 out of 30 districts in Odisha are going to polls. Voting was cancelled in 10 districts of Western Odisha due to the poll boycott call given by all parties, demanding a permanent bench of the Orissa High Court in the region. A bandh call has been given in Western Odisha today to press their demand.
High security arrangements have been made in Malkangiri, Gudari, Gunpur, Kashipur and Rayagada ULBs due to threats from Maoists. At least 11 platoons of jawans have been deployed in the Maoist-infested region. The voting began at 8 AM and will go up till 5 PM. EVM malfunctioning has been reported from Jajpur and Rourkela and some other areas.
Pre-election violence rocked many parts of Odisha, including Joda, Nayagarh, Puri, Jeypore, Hinjilikau etc. In Jeypore, the Congress and BJP workers gheraoed the police station and blocked the National Highways in protest against the attack on a Congress candidate and other workers. School & Mass Education Minister Rabi Narayan Nanda’s son Aditya Nanda and other BJD workers are accused of threatening the candidates and common people.
In Nayagarh, the BJD cadres resorted to violence by beating up Congress workers. “Money and muscle power are being heavily used by the ruling party in all parts of Odisha, alleged the Odisha Congress President Jayadev Jena. Even the officials and cops are working at the behest of the BJD leaders,” he said.