Pradeep Pattanayak

With less than 24 hours left for the beginning of counting of votes for the by-election to Dhamnagar assembly seat, impatience among the candidates and their supporters is soaring with each passing hour.

The fate of the candidates sealed in the EVM machines will be revealed tomorrow as the counting is all set to start from 8 am on Sunday. 

For the counting of the votes polled through electronic voting machines (EVMs) at 252 polling booths, elaborate arrangements are in place at the Sanskruti Bhawan in Bhadrak. The counting will take place on 14 tables in as many as 18 rounds. 

It is likely that the result will be known by 2 pm. 

Since a strong contest was seen among the candidates in the fray, it is, as per the political pundits, very difficult to predict who will romp through. 

The contest between BJD’s Abanti Sahu, BJP’s Suryabanshi Suraj and independent candidate Rajendra Das is said to be neck to neck. 

However, the saffron party is hopeful that Suryabanshi Suraj will win the by-election by a huge margin, more than the margin by which his father late Bishnu Sethi won from the seat in 2019. At the same time, the ruling BJD party is also sanguine about its candidate’s victory. 

However, even before the counting of votes, the grand old party has accepted its defeat. 

The election to the Dhamnagar seat was necessitated by the sudden demise of sitting MLA Bishnu Charan Sethi. He was elected twice from two different constituencies in his native Bhadrak district. In 2000, he was elected from Chandbali Assembly constituency and in 2019, from Dhamnagar Assembly seat.

(Reported by Partha Sarathi Nayak from Bhadrak, OTV Bureau)