Now all await Umerkote By-poll results On Sunday

Poll

The fate of the three candidates in the keenly-fought Assembly by-election in the Umarkote (ST) constituency on Wednesday will be known on Sunday after counting of ballots. The by-poll witnessed a voter turnout of 73.40 per cent. As many as 1,21,200 votes of which 63,647 male and 57,553 female exercised their franchises.

The unusually heavy polling in the Maoist infested areas bordering Chhattisgarh has led to speculations among political circles.

IT Minister Ramesh Chandra Majhi, however, asserted that the ruling BJD would retain the seat though by a reduced margin. He said the heavy polling in the areas adjacent to Chhattisgarh in Raighar block would go in favour of the BJD.On the other hand BJP and Congress camp hopeful of a victory.

Nabarangpur district SP Niti Sekhar said, "We have made all arrangements for counting of votes and the electronic voting machines (EVMs) are being stored in the women's college under tight security with deployment of one company of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and one platoon of the Odisha State Armed Police (OSAP), besides officers patrolling at regular intervals."

In the 2009 Assembly polls, the turnout was 70.17 per cent, and BJD candidate Jagabandhu Majhi was elected by defeating BJP candidate Dharmu Gond by over 14,000 votes while Congress candidate Parama Pujari was relegated to the third position.

The high-voltage campaign had given rise to the impression that it was a fight between Odisha and Chhattisgarh. As many as 13 ministers, more than 30 MLAs,MPs and senior leaders campaigned from the BJD side for the party for Subash Gond.

The BJP was not far behind Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh .including several ministers. MLAs and senior leaders from Chhatisgarh campaigned for party candidate Dharmu Gond.

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