Voting for the by-election to the Pipili assembly seat in Odisha’s Puri district began at 7 am on Thursday amid tight security and strict adherence to COVID-19 guidelines.
Around 2.30 lakh voters will decide the fate of 10 candidates, including the ruling BJD’s Rudrapratap Maharathy, Ashrit Pattnaik of the BJP and Congress nominee Bishwokeshan Harichandan Mohapatra.
The administration has deployed close to 2,000 security personnel to ensure peaceful voting in Pipili, which has a history of poll violence.
People were seen standing in queues outside the polling booths, where markings have been drawn on the ground to enable voters to maintain social distancing.
Voters are also undergoing thermal screening and provided with hand gloves, as per directions of the Election Commission. Polling will continue till 6 pm.
The by-election was necessitated following the death of BJD MLA Pradeep Maharathy in October last year.
The by-poll was first scheduled to be held on April 17, but it was countermanded after Congress candidate Ajit Mangaraj died of COVID-19 on April 14.
It was then slated for May 13, but got deferred due to a festival. The by-election was subsequently rescheduled for May 16. However, once again, it was postponed in the wake of the second wave of the pandemic. Votes will be counted on October 3.
(With PTI inputs)