Bhubaneswar: Odisha Wednesday sought additional central security forces for the assembly and Lok Sabha polls, to be held simultaneously in the state next month.

Chief electoral officer Mona Sharma said the state already has 89 companies of central para-military forces (about 9,000 personnel) but additional forces were needed for free and fair elections in Maoist strongholds.

“We have sought additional forces,” she told reporters here. Maoists are active in more than half of the state’s 30 districts.

The elections for 21 Lok Sabha seats and the 174-member assembly would be held in two phases — April 10 and April 17. Polling in the first phase would be held in 10 Lok Sabha constituencies and 70 assembly segments.

Sharma said a total of 28,880,850 people are eligible to cast their votes, including 70 lakh new voters. A total of 10 lakh voters are in the age group of 18-19 years.

Source: IANS