An EC official said that an average of 10.25 percent of votes were cast in the first two hours of voting in Odisha’s Dhamnagar assembly constituency, where the by-election began at 7 a.m. on Thursday. Long lines formed in front of polling stations even before voting began.
The voting process, which is being conducted under strict security, will last until 6 p.m.
“In the first two hours after 7 a.m., an average of 10.25% of voters cast ballots in the by-election for Dhamnagar assembly segment. Voting is taking place in all 252 polling stations “According to an Election Commission official.
Some initial EVM glitches were reported and resolved quickly, he added.
In this by-election, a total of 2.38 lakh voters – 1.23 lakh men and 1.15 lakh women – are eligible to vote.
In previous elections, the rural constituency had a voter turnout of around 70%. In the 2019 assembly election, 72.64 percent of voters cast ballots. In 2014, the figure was 73.46 percent.
For the by-election, 1,000 police officers and four companies of central paramilitary forces have been deployed. According to the official, the constituency’s entry and exit points have been mandatedly sealed.
A total of 1,008 poll workers have been assigned.
110 of the total 252 polling booths have been designated as sensitive. He stated that there will be webcasting in 126 booths.
The by-election will feature five candidates, but all eyes will be on the contest between ruling BJD candidate Abanti Das and party rebel-turned-independent candidate Rajendra Das, who was denied a ticket at the last minute. Suryabanshi Suraj, son of former MLA Bishnu Charan Sethi, whose death on September 19 prompted the by-election, has been nominated by the BJP.
The Congress has nominated advocate Baba Harekrushna Sethi, while the AAP has nominated Anwar Sheikh.
Except for Sheikh, all candidates voted in their respective polling stations by 10 a.m.
There are 15 model booths and five pink booths with female poll workers and security personnel.
For voters with physical disabilities, pick-up and drop-off arrangements have been made.
On November 6, the votes will be counted.
Meanwhile, Natabar Munda, a polling officer, died on Wednesday night before reaching the booth, according to officials.
Munda, an assistant teacher at Olanga Nodal U.P. School (ONUPS) in Bhadrak, became ill before going to the polling station and was rushed to a nearby hospital. He was then rushed to SCB Medical College Hospital, where he died during treatment, according to the official.