Patkura assembly election: 42 pc polling till 1 pm

Patkura assembly election: 42 pc polling till 1 pm

Around 42 per cent voter turnout was recorded till 1 pm on Saturday in the election to Odisha's Patkura assembly seat, where polling was postponed twice in the past few months.

Tight security arrangements have been made to ensure peaceful polling, and no untoward incident has been reported so far from anywhere in the constituency in coastal Kendrapara district, an election official said.

"An estimated 42 per cent of the voters have exercised their franchise till 1 pm... Polling in Patkura is underway in a smooth and peaceful manner," he said.

An electorate of 2,44,747, including 1,17,306 women, are eligible to vote in the election for which 1,700 polling personnel have been deployed.

Voting was delayed in some booths due to glitches in Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), which were corrected with immediacy, the official said.

The constituency is witnessing an interesting political battle with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's bete noire, Bijoy Mohapatra of the BJP, locked in a fight with BJD nominee, Sabitri Agarwal.

Mohapatra, a four-time MLA and one of the founders of the BJD, was ousted from the party by Patnaik just before the 2000 assembly polls. Since then, he has not been able to make it to the state assembly.

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 in the politically-sensitive constituency.

Agarwal is the wife of former Patkura MLA Bed Prakash Agarwal, whose demise on April 20 had led to the postponement of polling.

Later, it was scheduled on May 19 but had to be deferred again in the aftermath of cyclone Fani, which barrelled through coastal districts of Odisha on May 3.

Elaborate arrangements have been made to conduct a free and fair election in 309 polling booths, including 138 identified as critical, the official said.

Security personnel, including Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) jawans, have been deployed in the polling stations to maintain law and order, while 40 CCTV cameras installed at various booths.

Arrangements have also been made for webcasting in 31 polling stations and videography in 15 places, while 52 micro observers were pressed into service, he added.

Counting of votes is scheduled to be held on July 24.