Odisha: 78.96% polling recorded in Bijepur bypoll | Bhubaneswar News timesofindia.indiatimes.com


BHUBANESWAR: A voter turnout of 78.96% was recorded in the by-poll for Bijepur assembly segment on Monday, government authorities said.
The turnout has marginally gone down from the assembly election held in April when it was 79.28% and significantly from the by-poll held in February last year when Bijepur had recorded a voting percentage of 82.17%. The turnout was 80.24% in 2014 assembly election.
“As was being anticipated, the voters’ enthusiasm has gone down because of frequent elections,” said Gyana Ranjan Swain, a political science teacher at Ravenshaw University.
It was the third polling in two years to elect an MLA from Bijepur. The segment had witnessed a by-poll in February 2018 necessitated due to death of then sitting MLA Subal Sahu in August 2017 followed by the assembly election in April this year. The current bypoll was required after chief minister Naveen Patnaik vacated the seat. Naveen, who was elected from Bijepur and Hinjili, has retained the latter.
Women and youngsters were among those turning out to vote. A 100-year-old wheelchair-bound woman, Lochana Naik, was seen voting at a booth in Barpali township.
Though there are five candidates in the fray, the fight is being seen as largely between the BJD’s Rita Sahu and BJD’s Sanat Gartia. After the polling, both the parties claimed people’s support in their favour. “People’s growing support in BJD’s favour because of chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s leadership and continued good works is clearly visible. We will win the poll with a very large margin,” said senior BJD leader and school and mass education minister Samir Ranjan Dash. BJP spokesperson Golak Mohapatra said, “The people will teach BJD a lesson because chief minister Naveen Patnaik made false promises of all-round development of Bijeur but deserted the constituency after being voted.” In the last poll, Naveen had defeated BJP’s Sanat by 56,000 votes.
Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati said, “The Congress—which has fielded Dilip Panda—would not do very well because the fight saw money and muscle power of BJD and BJP.”
Chief electoral officer Sushil Kumar Lohani said, “The polling was largely peaceful with no incident of law and order reported from anywhere, including in six Maoist-affected booths under Gaisilat block.” The counting is scheduled on October 24.

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