The Lok Sabha and Assembly election results on Thursday will bring the curtains down on a bitter contest in Odisha between several candidates, especially the three major political parties - Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD).
The Naveen Patnaik-led BJD, which is eyeing a return to power for an unprecedented fifth consecutive term in Odisha, faced its toughest battle as a resurgent BJP riding on a Narendra Modi juggernaut posed a serious challenge to the regional party.
Most of the exit polls predicted that the saffron party is gaining ground in the coastal state even though Patnaik still holds a clear lead in the simultaneous elections.
The Election Commission has made all the preparations for a smooth and error-free counting of votes.
Simultaneous elections were held for 21 Lok Sabha and 146 Assembly seats in four phases in Odisha. While the overall polling percentage in Odisha was recorded at 73.08 per cent, the results will decide the fate of 147 Lok Sabha and 1,127 Assembly candidates.
Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Surendra Kumar said the counting of votes will be done at 63 centres in 22 districts across the state.
"The counting will start at these centres at 8 a.m. Around 6,700 persons have been deployed for the counting in 152 halls," Kumar said.
The CEO informed that nearly one lakh postal ballots have been received for counting.
"Several arrangements including installation of CCTVs, air conditions, videography and deployment of security personnel have been made at the counting centres for smooth completion of the process," said Kumar.