Call for poll boycott by Maoists and their threats could not deter voters in the inaccessible area of Balimela reservoir from exercising their right during the panchayat elections held in the area on Sunday.
The area, which is accessible only from Odisha side by motor boats, is the major Maoist stronghold in the district. They are part of Kudumulguma block of Malkangiri district. Apart from these villages of cut-off area, polling was also held in 13 booths of Nakamamudi panchayat of Kudumulguma block. Polling in these booths was to be held on February 11. But, the State Election Commission postponed elections in these booths following the Maoist ambush near Balimela on February 10 in which four BSF personnel were killed. The polling staff to these 13 booths was to pass through the same road.
According to sources, there was heavy voter turnout in these 13 booths of Nakamamudi panchayat on Sunday. Voting percentage was expected to be around 70 per cent. There was heavy voter turnout in the 84 booths of the cut-off area of Balimela reservoir.