Kendrapara: An estimated 71 percent of the over 2.44 lakh voters exercised their franchise Saturday amidst tight security in the election to Odisha's Patkura Assembly seat, where polling had been postponed twice in past two months.
Polling was peaceful and brisk despite intermittent drizzling and overcast skies. Long queues of voters were sighted in each of the 309 polling booths in the constituency.
Around 71 percent turnout was recorded at 6 pm and the final polling percentage is likely to go up as a large number of voters waited in the queue, Deputy Collector (Election) Sambit Satpathy said.
Polling was delayed at seven polling stations due to malfunctioning of EVMs and resumed after the glitches were rectified, Kendrapara collector Samarth Verma said.
The administration made arrangements for the convenience for elderly persons and the physically challenged by pressing into service auto rickshaws in the 52 gram panchayats under the constituency in accordance with Election Commission guidelines, he said.
Elaborate security arrangements was in place to ensure fair and peaceful polling in 309 polling stations. The state police and central armed police force had been deployed for the purpose, the collector said.
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik's bete noire, Bijoy Mohapatra of the BJP is locked in a fight with BJD nominee Sabitri Agarwal, the widow of Bed Prakash Agarwal, in the seat.
Polling in Patkura Assembly seat was scheduled on 29 April, but could not take place because of the death of BJD candidate Bed Prakash Agarwal on 20 April. The ECI then fixed 19 May as the new date for the polls in Patkura but further postponed due to Cyclone Fani which hit the state on 3 May.
While there are 10 candidates in the fray, it is likely to be a straight fight between the BJD and the BJP. The Congress has fielded Jayanta Kumar Mohanty.
Counting of votes is scheduled to be held on 24 July.
Updated Date: Jul 20, 2019 22:55:53 IST