Around 2,000 security personnel, including the Border Security Force (BSF), have been deployed to ensure peaceful polling in Odisha’s Pipili assembly constituency on Thursday. After several days of peaceful campaigning for the seat, tension prevailed in the area after a blast inside Balanga police station on Monday night.
Out of 348 booths, 201 have been marked as sensitive or very sensitive. After being postponed thrice, by-elections will be held in Pipili assembly constituency of Puri district on Thursday. Amidst the Covid pandemic, this is the first election in the state. COVID protocol has been made mandatory in the premises of polling stations. Voting will start from 7 am and will continue till 6 pm. Voters with flu-like symptoms will be allowed to cast their vote in the last hour only. Senior citizens above 80 years of age will be allowed to vote from their homes if they test positive for COVID-19. These facilities have been arranged by the local administration as per the directions of the CEO of the Election Commission. In all, 1077 people have opted to cast their vote through postal ballot.
A total of 348 booths are to be voted in strict adherence to the COVID-19 norms. Webcasting of voting will be done at 175 sensitive and sensitive polling stations on the day of polling. Micro observers will be appointed at 23 polling stations. Apart from this, 20 model booths have also been set up in the assembly constituency.
Meanwhile, Puri Collector Samarth Verma and other officials have reviewed the preparations ahead of the elections. “Locally trained police personnel along with central paramilitary forces will be deployed at all polling stations. Additional security forces will be deployed at sensitive booths,” Verma said.
A total of 1490 polling personnel are engaged in the election process. Apart from this 700 additional polling personnel have also been appointed. Notably, the bypoll to Pipili assembly constituency was necessitated after the death of sitting MLA Pradeep Maharathi in October last year. Counting of votes will take place on October 3.