Hours before the second phase of Lok Sabha elections on April 18, Maoists gunned down a woman polling officer in Kandhamal district of Odisha on Wednesday. Police said that she was taking a team of poll personnel to a booth on the eve of second phase when she was gunned down.
The officer who was identified as sector officer Sanjukta Digal was shot dead when she got down from the vehicle to check a suspicious object lying on the road while passing through a jungle. The Police informed that the incident occurred in Phulbani assembly segment under Kandhamal Lok Sabha seat where polling is scheduled to begin at 7 am on Thursday.
In a similar attack ahead of first phase of Lok Sabha elections, Maoists had attacked a BJP convoy in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh in which Bheema Mandvi, BJP MLA and three others lost their lives.
The Bastar region of Chhattisagrh which is badly hit by Maoist terror set an example by going out in large numbers to vote. The Election Commission during a media briefing after the first phase of elections informed that voters in Shyamgiri in Bastar's Dantewada district had come in great numbers to cast their ballots despite the security threat. The turnout in the district was 77% in the polling station.
"Voters in great number fearlessly used their franchise in Shyamgiri (in Bastar's Dantewada district) polling station. Turn out was 77% in this polling station," the EC said.
Hours after the Maoist attack in Dantewada, the Election Commission ensured that polling will take place as per schedule in the state. "Polling will go on as per schedule," EC officials said quoting state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Subrat Sahu.
The CEO also said the collectors and SPs (superintendents of police) were instructed to take utmost precautions over the next few days keeping in mind polling in the first phase on April 11 and second phase on April 18 in the state. The Election Commission has instructed to take utmost precautions in the Maoist-hit area.
(With PTI inputs)