Election to the politically- important Patkura assembly seat in Odisha, which had to be postponed twice in the past few months, will be held amidst elaborate arrangements on Saturday to ensure free and fair polling, an official said.
The constituency is witnessing one of the most interesting political battles in Odisha with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's bete noire, Bijoy Mohapatra of the BJP, locked in a fight with BJD nominee, Sabitri Agarwal.
Mohapatra is contesting from the seat in his bid to make an entry into state Assembly after almost two decades,
While there are nine candidates in the fray, it is likely to be a straight fight between the BJD and the BJP.
Sabitri Agarwal, fielded by the BJD, is the wife of former Patkura MLA, late Bed Prakash Agarwal.
Mohapatra, a four-time MLA and one of the founders of the BJD, was ousted from the party by Naveen Patnaik just before the 2000 assembly polls. Since then, he has not been able to make it to the state Assembly.
Besides Patnaik, a number of state ministers, MPs and MLAs campaigned for the BJD candidate, while several Union ministers and senior BJP leaders campaigned for Mohapatra.
A total of 2,44,747 voters, including 1,17,306 women, are eligible to exercise their franchise.
Elaborate arrangements have been made to conduct free and fair election in 309 polling booths, Samarth Verma, Kendrapara District Collector said.
"We have warned all political parties and candidates of stringent action, if they are found influencing the electorate through money, liquor or gifts," he said.
Arrangements have been made to distribute voter slips with photographs, to the electorate, to ensure maximum participation this time so as to improve the polling percentage, Verma said.
Most of the polling parties have reached their respective booths, he said.
Security personnel, including Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) jawans, are being deployed in the polling booths to maintain law and order, a senior police official said.
CCTV cameras have been installed in hyper-sensitive and sensitive booths to keep a check on anti-social elements, he said.
The Patkura seat, under Kendrapara Lok Sabha constituency, was scheduled to go to polls on April 29. But the election was postponed following death of BJD candidate, Bed Prakash Agarwal, on April 20.
Later it was scheduled on May 19 but had to be postponed again in the aftermath of Cyclone Fani, that barrelled through coastal districts of Odisha on May 3.
Polling will be held from 7 am to 6 pm in 309 polling stations.
Counting of votes would be done on July 24.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)