Voting for the by-election to Pipili assembly seat in Puri district of Odisha began at 7 am on Thursday amid tight security and strict adherence to COVID-19 guidelines.
About 2.30 lakh voters will decide the fate of 10 candidates, including Rudrapratap Maharathi of the ruling BJD, BJP’s Ashtriya Patnaik and Congress candidate Bishvokan Harichandan Mohapatra.
The administration has deployed around 2,000 security personnel to ensure peaceful polling in Pipili, which has a history of electoral violence.
People were seen standing in queues outside polling stations, where markings have been made on the ground to enable voters to maintain social distancing.
Thermal screening of voters is also being done and hand gloves have been provided to them as per the directions of the Election Commission. Voting will continue till 6 pm.
The bypoll was held in October last year after the death of BJD MLA Pradeep Maharathi.
The bypoll was earlier scheduled to be held on April 17, but was canceled after Congress candidate Ajit Mangraj died of COVID-19 on April 14.
It was then scheduled for 13 May, but was postponed due to a festival. The by-election was later rescheduled for May 16. However, once again, it was postponed in the wake of the second wave of the pandemic. The counting of votes will take place on October 3.
(with PTI inputs)