Odisha: Counting for Padampur by-poll tomorrow

Counting for the by-poll to Padampur assembly constituency in Odisha's Bargarh district will start on Thursday at 8 a.m.

Bhubaneswar: Counting for the by-poll to Padampur assembly constituency in Odisha’s Bargarh district will start on Thursday at 8 a.m.

Briefing media persons here, Odisha’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sushil Kumar Lohani said postal ballots will be counted first. Following that, votes polled in 319 booths will be counted in 14 tables in each round.

There will be 23 rounds of counting for the by-poll. So, the counting process will continue for a longer time, he said.

Each table will have three persons, one counting supervisor, one counting assistant and one micro observer (belongs to Central government). There will be sufficient reserve personnel. All of them have been properly trained, he said.

Lohani said after completion of EVM counting, VVPAT slips of five booths selected randomly will be taken up for counting to cross verify the EVM figures.

Counting will be done under the supervision of the returning officer (RO) who will be assisted by one ARO. The general observer appointed by the ECI will also remain present throughout to oversee the counting process, he added.

Each candidate can appoint one agent for each table and one for counting agents for the RO table for counting postal ballots etc. Besides, the candidate or his/her election agent can remain present in the counting hall.

Except the returning officer and general observer, nobody is allowed to carry mobile phones inside the counting hall, Lohani said.

Adequate security arrangement has been made in and around the counting centre. Entire 100 meters zone will be declared as a pedestrian zone. There will be three tier security consisting of central armed police force, state armed police and local police, the CEO informed.

Besides, arrangements have been made for media persons as per guidelines of the Election Commission. Round wise results will be disseminated to the public online through ECI portal — results.eci.gov.in.

Notably, the by-poll for Padampur was held on December 5. Fate of 10 candidates including BJD, BJP and Congress will be known tomorrow.

The ruling BJD has nominated Barsha Singh Bariha, daughter of late MLA Bijaya Ranjan Singh Bariha, whose death necessitated the by-poll.

The BJP has nominated Pradip Purohit, who had won the seat in 2014 but lost to BJD’s Bijaya Ranjan Singh Bariha in 2019 with a margin of 5734 votes. Congress fielded three-time MLA Satya Bhusan Sahu.

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