12-15 percent voting in Orissa in first two hours (Lead)

Bhubaneswar, April 23 (Inditop) Up to 15 percent turnout was reported Thursday in Orissa in the first two hours of the second and final phase of polling in 11 Lok Sabha and 77 assembly seats Thursday, officials said.

Said Additional Chief Electoral Officer Bhabagrahi Mohapatra: “The polling is going on peacefully.”

Mohapatra said there were some complaints of malfunctioning of electronic voting machines (EVMs) but these were sorted out.

An electorate of more than 14.5 million, including about seven million women, will decide the fate of 84 candidates contesting the Lok Sabha polls and 688 in the fray in the assembly elections.

The twin election is crucial for Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who has ended his alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and seeks to return to power in the state on his own.

Prominent among the BJP candidates contesting the Lok Sabha elections in the second phase are M.A. Kharabela Swain (Balasore), Ananta Nayak (Keonjhar) and Braja Kishore Tripathy (Puri).

Tripathy had resigned from the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) after being denied nomination and joined the BJP.

From the Congress, former central minister Srikanta Jena is contesting from Balasore and Ranjib Biswal from Kendrapada.

Among the key BJD candidates are industrialist-turned-Rajya Sabha member Baijayant Jay Panda (Kendrapada), Tathagat Satpathy (Dhenkanal) and Pinaki Mishra (Puri).