Rashmi Ranjan

The polling for the by-election to Jharsuguda assembly constituency in Odisha began at 7 am on Wednesday amid tight security measures.

According to sources, a total of 2,21,070 voters including 1,10,320 male, 1,10,687 female and 63 third gender will exercise their franchise in 253 booths. The Polling will continue till 6 pm.

Though nine candidates are in the fray, the constituency will mainly witness a triangular contest among candidates of the ruling BJD and Opposition BJP and Congress.

Jharsuguda bypoll LIVE UPDATES: 9.75% voter turnout recorded till 9 am

The BJD has fielded Dipali Das, daughter of Naba Kishore Das whose demise has necessitated the bypoll. The BJP has nominated Tankadhar Tripathy while the Congress party has fielded Tarun Pandey, the son of late MLA Biren Pandey. All the three candidates are debutant contestants.

Over 1,000 poll officials and an adequate number of security personnel, including seven companies of paramilitary forces, have been deployed to ensure a peaceful voting, sources informed.

CCTV cameras and deployment of micro-observers and central forces have been ensured in 106 booths identified as critical, besides 30 as demanded by various political parties.

Jharsuguda Superintendent of Police Parmar Smit Parshottamdas said 19 platoons comprising around 570 police personnel, besides 100 officers, have been deployed.

Collector cum District Election Officer Aboli Sunil Naravane said this was the first time that webcasting was done in all 253 polling stations.

The by-election was necessitated following the murder of sitting MLA and the then Health Minister Naba Kishore Das on January 29.

Votes will be counted on May 13.

The bypoll holds significance as it is the last election before the Lok Sabha polls next year.