Bijepur Assembly By-Election: Polling Underway Across 285 Booths, Voter Turnout 37.10%

Bijepur: Polling of votes has begun for the much-awaited by-election to Bijepur Assembly seat in Bargarh district amid tight security.

The State Chief Electoral Officer has informed that the voter turnout in the constituency is 37.10 per cent by 1 PM.

The voting, which started at 7 am across 285 booths, will continue till 5 pm. Prior to commencement of the voting process, mock polling was conducted in the booths at 5.30 am. The district administration has put in place massive arrangements to ensure smooth conduct of the voting process.

While all the eyes are on the main contestants for the bypoll, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP’s) Sanath Gartia, ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) candidate Rita Sahu and Congress’s Dillip Kumar Panda, two other candidates are also in fray for the seat. Over 2.32 lakh eligible voters including 1.20 lakh male and 1.12 lakh female are expected to cast their votes and decide fate of the five candidates.

Sushil Kumar Lohani, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) said 11 model booths have been set up where special arrangements have been made for differently-abled persons to exercise their franchise.

As many as 129 polling stations have been identified as critical. Similarly, adequate steps have been taken to ensure hassle-free voting in six polling stations under Gaisilat block which are vulnerable to Left Wing Extremism (LWE) threat.

As many as 33 platoon of police force, five company CRPF and senior police personnel have been deployed for peaceful and incident-free by-election.

Speaking to media after casting his vote, Congress candidate Dillip Panda said, “Party has confidence in me and I am working hard to win. But irrespective of the result, I will continue to stand by the people. I hope voters turn out to select the appropriate candidate to save democracy.” 

BJD candidate Rita Sahu also expressed similar confidence after casting her vote and said, “I did a lot of hard work and I am confident that it will pay off. BJD rule in the coming five years will usher in more development in the region and people are optimistic about it.”

“It is the beauty of democracy that people in our country are free to choose their representatives. Voters are enthusiastic & I am confident they will bless our party,” said BJP candidate Sanath Gartia after casting his vote in the Bijepur bypoll.

Briefing media on the latest polling updates, Chief Electoral Officer Sushil Kumar Lohani said, “Voting is underway peacefully and no violence has been reported at any booth so far. After polling began, glitches were detected in only one VVPAT machine. A centenarian woman, Lochana Naik, cast her vote at a polling booth in Barpali.”