Heat fails to deter voters’ enthusiasm

Big day: An elderly woman coming out of a polling booth after casting her vote in Bhubaneswar on Thursday. —

Big day: An elderly woman coming out of a polling booth after casting her vote in Bhubaneswar on Thursday. —   | Photo Credit: Photo: Ashoke Chakrabarty

Special Correspondent

People boycott elections in 24 booths in Mayurbhanj and Dhenkanal LS segments

BHUBANESWAR: Unusually high day temperature due to the prevailing heat wave conditions in the State did not hinder polling in 11 parliamentary constituencies and 77 Assembly segments of the State on Thursday.

The voters turned up to exercise their franchise and waited under the scorching sun to cast their votes. In a majority of polling booths, the authorities had failed to make arrangement for drinking water.

In their attempt to avoid extreme heat, hundreds of people went to vote during morning hours. Brisk voting again took place in the afternoon.

Very few turned to cast their votes between 12 noon and 3 pm when many areas reported maximum day temperature of over 40 degrees Celsius.

Even though voting hour was fixed between 7 am and 5 pm, polling continued till evening in many a places as those who had reached the polling booths by 5 pm were allowed to vote.

Although naxalite violence was not reported from any of the 11 Lok Sabha seats where elections were held, people boycotted in 24 booths at Rairangpur and Jashipur under Mayurbhanj Lok Sabha seat, Tentuliapada under Dhenkanal Lok Sabha constituency and some booths Balasore, Bhadrak and Bhubaneswar parliamentary seats.

The people stayed away from voting in these places to register their protest against lack of roads, drinking water and electricity in their villages.

The voters living in Dhinkia and Gobindpur villages under Jagatsinghpur Lok Sabha seat also boycotted the polls. These villagers, who were opposing establishment of a steel plant project in their locality, boycotted the polls as their polling booths had been set up in far off villages.

The fear of arrest at the hands of the local police made many people of Dhinkia and Gobindpur to stay away from polling as arrest warrants were pending against them in the case pertaining to the agitation against the steel plant project.

A total of 35 companies of Central police forces were deployed in the 11 Lok Sabha seats to maintain law and order and prevent any untoward incident during the polls.

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