Polling in first phase has begun in four Lok Sabha constituencies and 28 Assembly seats in Odisha.
Simultaneous polling is being held for Koraput, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi, Berhampur Lok Sabha constituencies and 28 Assembly seats under them. Total of 60,03,707 voters are to exercise their franchise in 7233 polling booths. Out of them 2375 booths have been identified as critical polling booths. Personnel of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) are deployed at 777 booths, which are mostly in naxalite infested areas.
Polling is being held in Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi, Nuapada and Gajapati districts that have Maoist presence. Security has been heightened as Maoists have called for poll boycott.
The Border Security Force (BSF) has taken up election security duty in Odisha for the first time. They are deployed in major Maoist-hit areas of Nabarangpur and Koraput parliamentary constituencies and 14 Assembly seats under them. Apart from BSF, personnel of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), India Reserve Battalion (IRB), Odisha police’s Special Operation Group (SOG) and District Voluntary Force (DVF) are also deployed for security cover during polling process.
In Malkangiri district, 11 companies of BSF, nine companies of para-military forces have been deployed along with IRB and DVF personnel. Two helicopters are also being used. On Wednesday, polling parties as well as EVM machines were transported by helicopters to erstwhile cut off area of Balimela reservoir that is now known as ‘swabhiman anchal’.