Campaigning ended today in 11 Lok Sabha and 77 Assembly seats in Odisha for the second and last phase polling for the elections on April 17. The fate of 98 candidates, including 11 women would be decided in the Lok Sabha elections and that of 747 candidates, including 65 women, in the Assembly.
The Lok Sabha constituencies where polling would be held were Jajpur, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Balasore, Bhadrak, Dhenkanal, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Puri, Jagatsinghpur and Bhunaneswar. Contesting parties were the BJD, BJP, AAP, Odisha Janmorcha, Ama Odisha Party, Samata Kranti Dal, BSP, JMM and Trinamool Congress.
Prominent LS candidates are Congress stalwart and union minister Srikant Jena and former Union Minister Arjun Sethi of BJD, besides a host of MPs including Tathagat Satpathy, Baijayant Panda, Pinaki Mishra, Bhatruhari Mahtab (all BJD).
Contestants for the Assembly included high-profile leaders and state ministers like Maheshwar Mohanty, Pratap Keshari Deb, Badri Narayan Patra, Bijoyshree Routray and Damodar Rout.
Also in the fray were BJP stalwart and former minister Bijay Mohapatra and OPCC President Jaydev Jena.
Issues that cropped up during polling were Centre's 'neglect' highlighted by the BJD, while the Congress alleged corruption, misrule, scams, including mining and chitfunds, and irregularities in central schemes. The BJP campaigned that there was no development during BJD rule, while employment was a major problem. An electorate of over 1.55 crore voters were eligible to exercise their franchise in 18,692 booths.
Around 1.41 lakh polling would conduct the polling. Heavyweights who campaigned were Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, besides BJD chief and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and JMM supremo Shibu Soren.
Altogether 406 companies of security personnel were deployed for poll duty.