The high pitched campaign for the by-election in Odishas Bijepur Assembly seat in Bargarh district came to an end on Saturday evening.
The by-election in Bijepur was necessitated as chief minister Naveen Patnaik resigned from the seat. Patnaik had won from two seats - Hinjili in Ganjam district and Bijepur in Bargarh district in the Assembly election. The BJD president retained Hinjili seat and resigned from Bijepur assembly segment.
The chief minister campaigned in Bijepur for two days on Thursday and Friday while Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Pratap Sarangi attended several election meetings in the constituency.
Though there are five candidates in the fray, the contest is mostly between ruling BJD candidate Rita Sahu and BJPs Sanat Gartia. Congress has fielded its Bargarh district vice-president Dillip Kumar Panda in Bijepur assembly segment which was earlier a fort of the party.
Odisha Chief Electoral Officer S K Lohani said all preparations are made for conducting polling in 285 polling stations where 2,32,264 people will exercise their franchise. Of the 285 polling stations, 129 have been identified as critical while preparation has been made for the smooth conduct of voting in six vulnerable left-wing extremism hit polling stations, he said.
The administration has made arrangement for webcasting in 28 polling stations, CCTVs are fitted in 14 polling stations. Seventy-seven micro observers have been engaged to monitor the polling process and videography will be done in 16 polling stations. The counting of votes will be held on October 24, he said.