Maoists attack poll stations, burn voting machines in Orissa (Lead)

Bhubaneswar, April 16 (Inditop) Maoist rebels attacked at least four polling stations and set fire to several electronic voting machines (EVMs) and a vehicle in Orissa while voting for the first phase of general and assembly elections was underway Thursday, police said.

“The rebels attacked four polling booths – three in Malkangiri district and one in Sundergarh district. Poling was affected in the three places,” Sudhanshu Sarangi, inspector general of police (anti-Maoist operations), told IANS.

The rebels attacked poll centres in Mahulpada village in Sundergarh as well as Andrahill village and two places in the interior Kalimela area in Malkangiri.

“In Andrahill village, the rebels burnt voting machines and a poll vehicle,” District Superintendent of Police Satyabrata Bhoi told IANS.

The Maoists have called for a complete boycott of the polls in the state. Malkangiri district is considered a stronghold of the guerrillas.

On Wednesday, the rebels felled trees and dug up roads in Malkangiri, Koraput and Rayagada districts to create hurdles for poll officials.

Orissa will elect 147 members to the state assembly and 21 members to the Lok Sabha on April 16 and April 23.

The fate of 72 candidates for 10 Lok Sabha seats and 599 candidates for 70 assembly seats will be decided by 12.6 million voters in the first phase Thursday.