Bhubaneswar: A day after the second phase of polls in Odisha, the Chief Electoral Officer placed 14 officers engaged in election duty under suspension for dereliction of duty. These officials include seven Presiding Officers and as many Sectoral Officers from booths in Sundergarh, Bonai, Atabira, Daspalla, Padmapur and Bargarh Assembly constituencies.
“Elections are the most important event in a democracy and human errors leading to a faux pas is not acceptable. Accountability must be fixed and punitive action is necessary to gain the trust of the electorates. The action taken today is a cautionary note for polling officials to ensure error free conduct of the last two phases of election in Odisha,” a senior official stated.
Amidst the glitches that surfaced in the second phase polls, there was also an encouraging trend. In the second phase elections held in Bargarh, Sundargarh, Bolangir, Kandhamal and Aska Lok Sabha seats, and 35 Assembly seats total 72.56 percent polling was recorded.
73.75 percent women (voters) cast their votes while 71.44 percent men (voters) polled in the second phase. The difference between male and female voters this time was 2.31 percent which was 1.34 percent during the first phase in the first phase of elections, Chief Electoral Officer, Surendra Kumar said.
Lok Sabha constituency-wise the voting percentages were as follows:
Bargarh – 77.57
Bolangir – 72.42
Kandhamal – 72.88
Sundergarh – 71.44
Aska – 66.30
“The incidences of violence in Kandhamal which included the brutal attack by Maoists in which Polling personnel Sanjukta Digal was killed and another where an election vehicle was set abalze were condemnable. Despite these factor, the voter turnout and successful conduct of elections in Kandhamal Lok Sabha seat was praiseworthy,” Kumar stated.
The CEO has recommended to the Chief Election Commission for re-election in the aforementioned seven booths and Renti booth in Sorada assembly constituency.