Voting picks up in Odisha's Pipili bypoll, 45.32 per cent turnout till 1 pm


PIPILI: Voting in the Pipili assembly by-poll in Odisha’s Puri district has so far been peaceful with 45.32 per cent turnout till 1 pm on Thursday, Chief Electoral Officer S K Lohani said.

There was no report of any untoward incident from the assembly segment, he said.

“The polling so far has been completely peaceful. People are casting their votes adhering to COVID-19 guidelines. Security personnel are present in all the polling booths to ensure free and fair voting,” Lohani said.

The CEO said mock polling was held in the 348 booths before voting began at 7 am.

Polling in some booths, however, were delayed due to technical glitches in the electronic voting machines, officials said.

A number of people, mostly women, were seen standing in queues outside most polling centres, where markings have been drawn on the ground to enable voters to maintain social distancing.

Polling will continue till 6 pm.

The administration has deployed close to 2,000 security personnel to ensure peaceful voting in Pipili, which has a history of poll violence.

While webcasting is underway in 175 of the 201 sensitive booths, video recording arrangements have been made in 12 booths.

Twenty-three micro observers are also appointed to monitor the voting process.

Nearly 2.30 lakh voters will decide the fate of 10 candidates, including the ruling BJD’s Rudrapratap Maharathy, Ashrit Pattnaik of the BJP and Congress nominee Bishwokeshan Harichandan Mohapatra.

All of them have have cast votes in their respective polling booths.

The by-election was necessitated following the death of BJD MLA Pradeep Maharathy in October last year.

Votes will be counted on October 3.