Voting begins in Odisha for 10 Lok Sabha and 70 assembly Seats

Bhubaneswar: Polling began on a peaceful note for 10 Lok Sabha and 70 assembly seats in Odisha, an official said.

People stood in queues outside polling centres before polling started at 7 am.

“Everywhere balloting has started. We talked to all the district collectors and police officials and from nowhere have we got any complaints so far. It has started on a peaceful note,” state’s Chief Electoral Officer Mona Sharma told IANS.

Over 13 million electors will cast their ballots in the first phase of polling.

There are a total of 28,880,850 voters in the state. Polling for the remaining 11 Lok Sabha seats and 77 assembly seats would be held in the second phase April 17.

Security was tight, and paramilitary personnel and police have been deployed in vulnerable areas to ensure trouble-free polling.

Defying boycott call given by Maoists, people came to exercise their franchise in the southern districts of Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Kalahandi and Kandhamal.

Prominent candidates in the first phase are Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, and two former chief ministers and senior Congress leaders, Giridhar Gomang and Hemananda Biswal.

State Revenue Minister Surya Narayan Patro, former union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Jual Oram, state BJP president K.V. Singh Deo, and Congress leader Narasingh Mishra are also in the fray.

Odisha saw intense campaigning by political heavyweights, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, vice president Rahul Gandhi, BJP chief Rajnath Singh and prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.