Berhampur, April 18 (LocalWire): Defying the Maoists’ call to boycott elections, voters in Kandhamal district on Thursday came out in large numbers to exercise their franchise.
On the eve of polling, suspected Maoists gunned down a woman police officer at Barahala village under Gochhapada police station and set ablaze two polling vehicles at Simingipadara under Phringia police station limits. They also killed a Gram Rojagar Sevak, engaged as polling supervisor.
The polling personnel reached these polling stations on Thursday under tight security and voting was peaceful, said a senior officer. ‘The exact turnout will be known only after the polling parties return,’ said district Collector Brundha D.
An estimated 58 percent turnout was recorded and no untoward incident reported although earlier, the Maoists urged the locals to boycott the elections by putting up posters and banners in different places in the district.
Since there was security alert, polling was supposed to complete by 4.00 p.m. but in some booths which had long queues, it continued till 6.00 p.m.
Additional forces were deployed in the vulnerable areas, while senior police officers, including IGP, Berhampur, Yatindra Koyal, inspected the law and order situation in the district and combing operations and vehicle checking continued.
The district has three Assembly segments, including Phulbani, G Udayagiri and Baliguda – all reserve segments for the scheduled tribe under Kandhamal Lok Sabha constituency.