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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

The political climate in Pipili heats up as the much-awaited bypoll in the Assembly Constituency in Puri district is going to be conducted on Thursday with strict adherence of Covid-19 guidelines.

All the preparations are in the final stage with polling parties reaching various booths and conducting rehearsals for the high-voltage bypoll which will be held from 7 am to 6 pm tomorrow. As many as 2,29,998 voters will cast their votes at 348 booths among which 201 have been identified as sensitive.

In order to ensure transparency and better monitoring of the situation, voting at 175 critical and sensitive polling stations will be webcast on the polling day. Micro observers will be appointed at 23 polling booths. Moreover, 20 ideal booths have also been set up across the Assembly constituency for the high-voltage by-poll.

A total of 1490 polling personnel have been engaged in the election process. Besides 700 additional polling personnel have also been appointed to ensure compliance of Covid appropriate behaviour during the election.

Meanwhile, Puri Collector Samarth Verma and SP Kanwar Vishal Singh reviewed the preparations at various booths in Pipili and Delang blocks.

"All the polling parties have reached their assigned booths and they are checking Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). Sector officers are helping them sort out any kind of snags in the machines and preparing them for use tomorrow," said Verma.

As many as 22 platoons of armed police forces and three companies of BSF jawans have been deployed in the constituency to maintain law and order during the polling.

"As many as three companies of BSF have been deployed in the constituency to maintain law and order. We have also deployed CAP in all the sensitive booths. Besides 22 platoons of armed police forces including 80-90 officers will be on duty to avert any untoward incidents. We are fully ready for tomorrow," said Singh.

On the other hand, BJP and BJD indulged in war of words ahead of the polling. While BJP and Congress alleged that the law and order situation has completely deteriorated in the constituency, BJD termed it as political stunt.

"The law and order situation in Pipili has completely deteriorated. BJD is encouraging goons to make hand bombs and killing people on the road," alleged BJP General Secretary Prithviraj Harichandan.

Senior Congress leader Sura Routray said, "Balanga police station has been damaged intentionally either by BJD or BJP workers to intimidate people of the area. A judicial enquiry should be ordered to bring the culprits to book," said Routray.

On the other hand, BJD leader Pratap Deb refuted the allegations of both BJP and Congress.

"I think it's a political stunt and drama by BJP. Why did they not raise their voices against deteriorating law and order five months earlier. Suddenly, they came up with the allegation to create confusion and chaos among voters," said Deb.

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