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Polling for Bijepur bypoll ends peacefully; presiding officer suspended

Bijepur

Bargarh: The voting for the bypoll for Bijepur Assembly constituency in Odisha’s Bargarh district ended peacefully at 5 PM today with voters turning out in large numbers.

While the total voters turnout was 81.86 percent in last assembly election in 2014, this time the total polling recorded till 5 PM was 72 percent.

The voters queued up outside polling booths much before 8 AM when the voting was to start officially.

About 2.21 lakh voters were slated to exercise their franchise in 281 polling booths which would decide the fate of 13 candidates, including BJD’s Rita Sahu, BJP’s Ashok Panigrahi and Congress’ Pranaya Sahu.

The by-election fever has gripped the State as all the three major political parties are facing the first by-poll after 2014 Assembly elections.

People across the State have glued to television sets from the morning to get informed about each happening of the by-election.

Voting in booth no- 88, 102, 141 in Bijepur block and booth no 20 in Barpali block was interrupted after technical glitches developed in Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines, which are being used for the first time in the by-poll.

Along with 36 platoons of police force, five companies of central paramilitary forces had been deployed in the district to maintain law and order during the polling, official sources said.

The results of the by-poll would be declared on February 28.

Meanwhile, presiding officer of booth no-193 of Bijepur Assembly Constituency has been placed under suspension today.

The presiding officer, the headmaster of Thikipali Project Upper Primary School under Bheden block was found trying to influence voters to vote in favor of a particular candidate.

“This is a serious offence and taking prompt action to ensure free fair poll and to ensure voter confidence, the District Election Officer, Bargarh has placed him under suspension pending drawal of disciplinary proceedings under Rule 15 of OCS (CCA) Rules for the lapses besides action prescribed under Provisions of the RP Act”, said the Chief Electoral Officer.

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