Bhubaneswar: The first phase elections to four Lok Sabha constituencies and 28 Assembly constituencies began in Odisha on Thursday.
While 28 candidates are in the fray for the four Lok Sabha seats in Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Berhampur and Koraput, 191 candidates are contesting for in the 28 Assembly seats of Nuapada (General), Khariar (General), Lanjigarh (ST), Junagarh (General), Dharmagarh (General), Bhawanipatna (SC), Narla (General), Umerkote (ST), Jharigan (ST), Nabarangpur (ST), Dabugan (ST), Kotpad (ST), Malkangiri (ST), Chitrakonda (ST), Chhatrapur (SC), Gopalpur (General), Berhampur (General), Digapahandi (General), Chikiti (General), Mohana (ST), Paralakhemundi (General), Gunupur (ST), Bisamkatak (ST), Rayagada (ST), Laxmipur (ST), Jeypore (General), Koraput (SC) and Pottangi.
In the first phase, a total of 60,03,707 voters comprising 29,72,925 male voters, 30,30,222 female voters and 560 transgenders will cast their votes in 7,233 booths.
As the first phase elections being held in most of the Maoist-affected districts of the state, extra security arrangements have been made in these areas where 2375 booths have been identified as hypersensitive. Security has been tightened with the deployment of additional central paramilitary forces and the Odisha State Armed Police (OSAP) personnel. To ensure free, fair and peaceful elections, CCTV cameras have been installed while webcasting and videography will also be carried out. To assist in the deployment of polling officials in cut-off and Maoist affected areas, the government has also made arrangements of helicopters for transporting the officials.