Bhubaneswar, May 12: The verdict of people of Jharsuguda about their next leader will be revealed on Saturday following counting of the votes polled in the crucial Jharsuguda Assembly seat.
Counting of votes for the by-poll will begin at 8 AM at Jharsuguda Engineering School. Postal ballots will be counted first while EVM votes counting will start at 8.30 AM, said Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Nikunja Bihari Dhal here on Friday.
As Jharsuguda has been witnessing a high temperature during the past several days, the counting hall has been made air-conditioned. All other arrangements have been made for smooth counting of the votes, he said.
Counting will be conducted on 14 tables. As votes polled in 253 booths will be counted, so there will be 18 full rounds and another partial round, Shri Dhal said.
He said that three-lawyer security arrangements have been made in and around the counting centre. Central Armed Police Force (CAPF), State Armed Police Force (SAPF) and State Police will provide the security during the counting.
Collector and Returning Officers will announce the round-wise results after counting of each round. It was expected that the counting would be completed between 4 PM to 6 PM, he added.
Besides, citizens can know about the round-wise result through https://results.eci.gov.in/
A total of 79.21 per cent of 2.21 lakh voters exercised their franchise in the by-poll held on May 10.
The byelection was necessitated following the murder of sitting MLA and the then Health Minister Naba Kishore Das on January 29 this year.
Though there are nine candidates in the fray in the bypoll, the contest is mainly between the BJD, BJP and the Congress. The BJD has fielded Das’s daughter Deepali, while the BJP has nominated Tankadhar Tripathy.
The Congress has fielded Tarun Pandey. Now, all eyes are on the result, as it will show the strength of the three major political parties in Odisha ahead of the upcoming Assembly and Lok Sabha polls.
BJD senior vice president Pramila Mallick was very confident that her party would retain the seat with a record margin of votes. On the other hand, both the BJP and Congress were also optimistic of their candidate winning the by poll.
Shrimati Mallick claimed that BJD will win the by-poll with a margin of over 50,000 votes as people have shown their faith and support to BJD candidate Dipali Das.
BJP leader and Sundargarh MLA Kusumu Tete said the vote share of her party will definitely increase in the by-poll. “We may win the by-poll or remain in second position. In 2019, we got about 52,000 votes while this time, we will get 60,000 to 70,000 votes,” claimed Tete.
On the other hand, Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president Sarat Pattanayak said the by-poll witnessed a triangular fight between BJD, BJP and Congress. The vote margin between BJD and Congress will remain minimal, he said, adding, “Our vote share will definitely increase in this by-poll.”