Brahmagiri: Disrupting the voting process, a few miscreants escaped with a ballot box from Booth No-9 at Kashijharia village of Chapamanik panchayat under Brahmagiri block in Puri district during the first phase of three-tier polls to rural bodies Wednesday.
“Polling was underway smoothly at Booth No-9 till 10.30am. However, a youth entered the booth on the pretext of casting his vote. Later, he suddenly snatched a ballot box and ran away from the spot. He threw the ballot box to the other side of a wall. A few more miscreants who were waiting on the other side of the wall picked the ballot box and fled to a nearby forest,” a policeman on duty at the Booth No-9 informed.
“Identities of the miscreants and reason behind the loot have not been known so far. Brahmagiri police have initiated a detailed probe into the incident,” the booth presiding officer Kamrool Hussain Khan said.
“Earlier at 7.00am few youth of Kashijharia village came to the Booth No-9 and told me that two persons should be allowed to be present during the polling as per decision of the villagers. However, I did not entertain their proposal and later the untoward incident took place. I discussed the matter with locals. According to them, some village youths are involved in the snatching,” the presiding officer stated.
It is pertinent to mention, over 30 per cent voter turnout was recorded in Odisha till 11.00am, State Election Commissioner informed.
Polling for the three-tier panchayat elections started at 7.00 AM. As many as 67.51 lakh voters were to exercise their right to franchise in the first phase of polls. Elaborate arrangements were put in place for the massive voting exercise which is being conducted at 22,379 booths in 1,669 panchayats across the state, the SEC further said.
As many as 225 platoons of police force have been deployed to maintain the law and order situations. Besides, around 37,245 police personnel have been deployed to look after the security in all booths and other sensitive locations during the conduct of voting.