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Pipili Poll Peaceful

Bhubaneswar: The Pipili by-election was completed peacefully with a voter turnout over 68.40 per cent till 5 pm.

The voting was started in all 348 booths of the constituency at 7 am and continued till 6 pm under a security blanket. There was no report of any untoward incident from the assembly segment, said Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), SK Lohani.

“The polling so far has been completely peaceful with 68.40 per cent polling till 5 pm. People are casting their votes adhering to Covid-19 guidelines. Security personnel are present in all the polling booths to ensure free and fair voting,” Lohani said.

The final polling per cent will be known Friday morning, after all presiding officers return to the headquarters, he said.

The CEO said mock polling was held in the 348 booths before voting began at 7 am. Polling in some booths, however, got delayed due to technical glitches in the electronic voting machines, officials said.

The administration has deployed around 2,000 security personnel to ensure peaceful voting in Pipili, which has a history of poll violence.

While webcasting is underway in 175 of the 201 sensitive booths, video recording arrangements have been made in 12 booths. Twenty-three micro-observers have also been appointed to monitor the voting process.

The fate of 10 candidates including the ruling BJD’s Rudrapratap Maharathy, Ashrit Pattnaik of the BJP and Congress nominee Bishwokeshan Harichandan Mohapatra have been sealed in the EVMs. All of them have cast votes in their respective polling booths. The fate of these candidates will be known October 3, the counting day.

The by-poll which was necessitated following the death of sitting BJD MLA Pradeep Maharathy, was initially scheduled for April 17 this year. However, it was countermanded in the aftermath of the death of Congress candidate Ajit Mangaraj on April 14 due to Covid-19.

Following the death of Mangaraj, the polling date was fixed on May 13, which was again rescheduled to May 16 in view of the Eid-ul-Fitr, a festival of Muslims. Again the by-poll was deferred in view of the second wave of Covid