Berhampur, March 12 (LocalWire): The Berhampur constituency will vote in the first phase of polling for both Assembly and Lok Sabha seats on 11 April but several villages in Ganjam and Gajapati districts will not have full voting percentage as hundreds of people participating in Danda Nata will be away from their villages and not be able to exercise their franchise.
The residents of the region take part in the annual Danda Nata – a seasonal folk dance – which continues at a stretch for 14 days to 21 days to appease Lord Shiva and Shakti.
Beginning in the Odia month of Chaitra, it comes to an end on Maha Visubha Shamkranti or 14 April.
Participants or Danduas travel in troupes consisting of 21 to 1000 members from almost all the villages in the district to perform while roaming from one village to the other.
Berhampur Lok Sabha constituency, spreading over Ganjam and Gajapati districts with five (Berhampur, Chikiti, Chhatrapur, Digapahandi and Gopalpur) and two (Mohana and Paralakhemundi) Assembly segments respectively, will go to poll during the first phase.
The leaders of all political parties and their candidates are worried over the poll schedule announced by the election commission.
They faced a similar situation in 2014, when polling was affected due to Danda Nata. ‘The schedule is contradicting the EC’s 100 percent polling idea, particularly in Berhampur Lok Sabha constituency,’ said BJD secretary T Gopi.
‘We will request the Election Commissioner to change the date of polling,’ said the working president of Ganjam district Congress committee Deepak Patnaik.