Bijepur bypoll in Odisha records 72% voter turnout

Bhubaneswar:  Around 72 per cent of the voters exercised their franchise in the bypoll to Bijepur Assembly seat in Odisha’s Bargarh district on Saturday, an Election Commission official said.

The voting process largely remained peaceful as heavy deployment of security personnel was made across the constituency.

The voters have locked the fate of 13 candidates even, though it is primarily being seen as a triangular fight between the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress. The results of the bypoll would be declared on February 28.

Chief Electoral Officer Surendra Kumar informed that the Presiding Officer of Booth No.-193 had been placed under suspension as he was found trying to influence voters to vote in favour of a particular candidate.

The voters queued up outside polling booths much before 8.00 a.m when the voting was to start officially, said the EC official.

About 2,21,144 voters were slated to exercise their franchise which would decide the fate of 13 candidates, including BJD’s Rita Sahu, BJP’s Ashok Panigrahi and Congress’ Pranaya Sahu.

The by-poll was necessitated following the death of Congress MLA Subal Sahu in August 2017.

There were 281 polling booths, out of which 155 marked as ‘sensitive’ or ‘critical’.

While the voting was largely peaceful, reports of technical glitches in the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines came from some booths.

Tight security measures were in place to ensure smooth and peaceful polling, with five platoons of central paramilitary forces, 36 platoons of the state police deployed at various strategic points in the constituency. (IANS)

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