The Biju Janta Dal(BJD) has taken an early lead in both seats of Tirthol and Balasore, with the BJP trailing close at its heels, although Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik’s party is also successfully increasing its margins at both seats. Counting for votes polled in the Balasore and Tirtol assembly by-elections in Odisha begun today after keeping into account all preparations undertaken to ensure secure and smooth counting amid strict adherence to COVID-19 guidelines.
Officials said on Monday that the counting of votes for the Balasore bypolls will be held at the campus of the district collector’s office, while in Tirtol, it will be held at the SVM College premises in Jagatsinghpur, .The counting at both the places will start at 8 am today, Chief Electoral Officer SK Lohani said.
Heavy Security in Place:
Three-tier security has been arranged at the counting venues with personnel of the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) guarding the inner circle, Lohani said. Jawans of the Odisha State Armed Police (OSAP) will guard the middle tier and the local police will be in charge of the outer cordon, he added. In view of the pandemic, special arrangements have been made for counting of votes at both the centres, the officer said.
In each of the two venues, counting will be held simultaneously at seven tables in two halls, he said.
By-elections in the two constituencies were held on November 3, following the demise of BJP MLA Madan Mohan Dutta in Balasore and BJD legislator Bishnu Charan Das in Tirtol.
Three counting halls have been set up in each of the centres, he said. The results will be updated on the official website — results.eci.gov.in, and announced on completion of each round of counting at the respective centres.
Counting of votes is likely to be completed by the evening though the number of booths has increased this time, Lohani said.
“There would be seven tables each in two halls, while the postal ballots will be counted in the third hall,” he said.
Postal Votes, Followed by EVM
Counting will start from 8 am and Initially postal votes will be counted between 8am and 8.30am, following which EVM votes counting will start. The two seats These two seats were vacant due to the demise of both standing MLA’s. In 2019 Assembly election, Tirtol seat was won by ruling Biju Janata Dal-BJD, While Balasore seat was in the hand of BJP.
The voter turnout in Balasore and Tirtol assembly segments was 70.69 and 69.66 per cent, respectively. The electoral fortunes of 15 candidates — six in Balasore and nine in Tirtol will be announced today, with 4 candidates in Balasore and 4 in Tirthol on the ground, BJD, BJP, Congress and 3 independent candidates in Balasore, BJD, BJP, Congress, CPI and 5 independent candidates in Tirthol.
Candidates in Fray
The BJP has fielded Manas Kumar Dutta, the son of late MLA Madan Mohan Dutta, in the Balasore seat, while Swarup Das is the BJD candidate and the Congress nominated Mamata Kundu. The BJD has fielded Bijay Shankar Das, the son of Bishnu Charan Das, in the Tirtol seat, while the Congress candidate in Himansu Bhushan Mallick, and Rajkishore Behera is the BJP nominee.
Apart from the BJP and BJD candidates in fray, an independent candidate in the bypoll for Balasore Sadar Assembly constituency is an 80-year-old barber “Benu Mausa” or Benudhar Barik.
Here are the LIVE updates of the Odisha By-elections:
—Counting begins: Counting has started in the two seats of Balasore and Tirtol assembly seats. Postal ballots are being counted first.
—Tirtol seat: There are nine candidates contesting in the 2020 by-polls for the Tirtol seat. This is a Scheduled Caste constituency. Full list of candidates contesting from Tirtol constituency: Bijaya Shankar Das (Biju Janata Dal), Rajkishore Behera (Bharatiya Janata Party), Bijay Kumar Bhoi (Communist Party of India), Himanshu Bhusan Mallick (Indian National Congress), Arjuna Charan Behera (Independent), Golap Manjari Bhoi (Independent), Rabindra Nath Sethy (Independent), Ramesh Chandra Mallick (Independent), Sachitra Mallick (Independent)
—Balasore Constituency: There are six candidates contesting in the 2020 by-polls for the Balasore seat. This is a General constituency. Full list of candidates contesting from Balasore constituency: Swarup Kumar Das (Biju Janata Dal), Manas Kumar Dutta (Bharatiya Janata Party), Mamata Kundu (Indian National Congress), Benudhar Barik (Independent), Bhagyauddit Daspattanayak (Independent), Md Numan Khan (Independent)
–Bijaya Shankar Das, who is being fielded by BJD for Tirtol which was represented by his father late Bishnu Charan Das had earlier exuded confidence that his victory margin would be 50,000. He has said their key issues- unemployment and issues of farmers were appropriately addressed by the BJD government.
–For Balasore Sadar constituency, counting is taking place at the Balasore Collectorate, while counting for the Tirtol assembly constituency is being held at the SVM College premises, Jagatsinghpur.
— BJD Leading by Thin margin: For Balasore seat, after first round of counting of postal votes, BJD’s Swarup das is leading by 615 votes with 3424 votes. BJP’s Manas Dutta is trailing with 2812 votes.
–In Tirthol Assembly seat, BJD Candidate Bijay Shankar Das is leading after first round by 442 votes with 3852 votes. BJP’s Rajkishore Behera trailing by 2774.
–After second round of counting, BJD leading by 1000 votes in Tirthol assembly.
–In Balasore, BJD is leading, BJP is trailing. BJD has currently 7128 votes, BJP trailing with 6074.
In Tirthol, BJD leading with 7867 votes while BJP is at 4557.
— After third round of votes in Tirthol, Bijaya Shankar Das from BJD leading with total of 11404 votes. Rajkishore Behera of BJP trailing at 6959 votes.
–Tirthol has completed fourth round of counting and BJD’s Bijaya Shankar Das continues to lead with 15131 votes. Fourth round added 3727 votes. BJP’s Rajkishore Behera is trailing him with at 9505 votes.
–Balasore has finished its fourth round of counting and so far, the counting trend shows BJD leading with 14480,BJP trails at 11809.
In Tirthol, after fifth round of counting, BJD leads with 18397 as the BJP’s Rajkishore Behera has 11997 votes.
–BJD leads with 18447 votes in Balasore, BJP trails at 15741 votes. Tirthol finishes sixth round of counting, BJD’s share at 21996, BJP: 13882.