Odisha Elections: 6 Lok Sabha, 42 Assembly Seats To Undergo Saturday Polling With Union & State

Odisha Elections: As Odisha braces itself for the third round of voting amidst challenging weather conditions marked by scorching heat and humidity, attention is focused on six Lok Sabha and 42 assembly segments. The ruling BJD and the opposition BJP emerge as primary contenders in this electoral battleground. The parliamentary constituencies up for grabs include Sambalpur, Keonjhar, Dhenkanal, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, and Puri. With a total of 64 candidates vying for the six Lok Sabha seats and 383 contestants competing across the 42 assembly segments.

Despite being the third round of polling within the state, nationally, this marks the sixth phase of elections. Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who is contesting from Sambalpur Lok Sabha seat, and state ministers Prafulla Mallick, Ranendra Pratap Swain, and Ashok Panda for assembly segments are among the key candidates. Several sitting MLAs are also in the fray.

In the 2019 elections, the BJD secured victories in Keonjhar, Dhenkanal, Puri, and Cuttack, while the BJP emerged victorious in Sambalpur and Bhubaneswar.  For the assembly segments within these Lok Sabha seats, the BJD won 34 out of 42 seats in 2019, the BJP bagged six, and Congress two.

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A total of 9,448,553 voters – 4,829,660 men, 4,617,602 women and 1,291 transgenders – are eligible to vote in 10,581 polling booths. Odisha’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) NB Dhal said that voting will commence at 7 am, with closing times ranging between 4 pm and 5 pm, contingent on local conditions.

Anticipating the hot and humid weather forecast by the IMD, polling stations have been equipped with provisions for water, shade, and other necessities.

Additionally, special arrangements have been made to accommodate elderly and physically challenged voters, ensuring their participation in the electoral process.

DGP Arun Kumar Sarangi revealed that a formidable security contingent of 35,000 personnel, including 121 companies of central forces, has been strategically deployed across the six constituencies.

With approximately 2,000 polling booths identified as critical, the deployment of central forces aims to uphold the integrity of the electoral process and ensure free and fair elections.

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Odisha Elections 2024: BJD, BJP’s Massive Campaigning To Woo Voters

Notable candidates vying for victory in this round include Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and four Odisha ministers – Prafulla Mallick, R P Swain, Ashok Panda, and Basanti Hembram. In the Sambalpur Lok Sabha seat, BJP’s Dharmendra Pradhan faces off against BJD’s Pranab Prakash Das, marking Pradhan’s return to electoral contests after a decade.

Previously unsuccessful in the 2009 assembly elections, Pradhan later served in the Rajya Sabha representing Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. He now replaces incumbent BJP MP Nitesh Ganga Deb.

The BJD has fielded new candidates in Cuttack, Puri, Dhenkanal, and Keonjhar, while re-nominating Aparajita Sarangi in Bhubaneswar. Notably, in Puri, BJP’s Sambit Patra, who narrowly lost to BJD’s Pinaki Mishra in 2019, is once again contesting, this time against Arup Patnaik, a former Mumbai police commissioner.

In Cuttack, a significant electoral battleground, BJD’s long-standing MP Bhartruhari Mahtab has crossed over to the BJP, pitting himself against BJD’s Santrupt Mishra, a former corporate leader. Mahtab, who has represented Cuttack since 1998, brings a wealth of experience to his new party.

Notably, PM Narendra Modi, along with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and other senior BJP leaders, have conducted extensive campaign efforts in the region. PM Modi spearheaded rallies in Angul and Cuttack, complemented by roadshows in Puri and Bhubaneswar.

Amit Shah contributed to the campaign with a roadshow in Cuttack, while BJP president JP Nadda engaged in several strategic meetings. BJP chief ministers Himanta Biswa Sarma, Vishnu Dev Sai, Bhajan Lal, and former Tripura CM Biplab Deb also campaigned for party candidates, as per PTI.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his aide V K Pandian campaigned for BJD candidates, while Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addressed a rally in Salepur, Cuttack district.