Prafulla Das

BHUBANESWAR: Elections to 10 Parliamentary constituencies and 70 Assembly segments of Orissa passed off by and large peacefully on Thursday even as Maoists attacked eight polling booths.

Although an average of 53 per cent of the electorate turned up to vote in the Parliamentary and Assembly seats, the areas having heavy naxal presence reported low turnout. Although tight security arrangements were made in the naxalite zones, several incidents were reported from Malkangiri. The Maoists snatched away the electronic voting machines in six booths and burnt down the vehicle carrying a polling party in Malkangiri. The extremists also snatched away EVMs from at least two polling parties in the district.

One polling party returned to the Malkangiri district headquarters due to fear of naxalites, while many booths reported thin polling in areas where the extremists had called for boycott.

Not a single voter turned up in four polling booths under Kotpad Assembly seat under the Nabarangpur Lok Sabha constituency in view of the boycott call.

People of the Jhodia community in Rayagada district stayed away from the polls to highlight their demand for grant of Scheduled Tribe status. Polling was boycotted in six booths in Kalahandi district and another six in Koraput in protest against lack of development work.

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