Looking at the high-pitched campaigning and volatile situation, massive security arrangements have been made for Sunday's voting in Athgarh Assembly segment where the by-elections are being held after the April 2009 polls were declared null and void.
Pre-poll violence, tempers running high among party activists and the track record of the Constituency have made the police authorities to put their best foot forward in order to ensure a peaceful polling in all the 198 booths of the Constituency.
While 179 booths of the segment come under the Cuttack rural police jurisdiction, 19 others are under the control of Cuttack urban police. Sources said all the 19 booths under urban police and another 100 booths under rural police have been declared as sensitive or hypersensitive as per the intelligence inputs.
The updated voters' list of the segment till February this year has names of a total of 1,85,095 electors, including nearly 80,000 women voters.
But looking at the voting pattern of the segment, the voters' turnout on Sunday would not cross 1.5 lakh.
A total of seven candidates, including four Independent are in the fray for the Sunday's poll.
But the contest would be mainly between the candidates of BJD, Congress and BJP.
While former minister and four-time MLA Ranendra Pratap Swain is the BJD candidate, OPCC general secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra and Tigiria lawyer Bikram Dash are the Congress and BJP candidates respectively.
However, not leaving anything to chance, the administration has deployed 25 platoons of armed police, including a company of CRPF for the polling on Sunday. Besides, nearly 130 police officers (SIs, Inspectors and DSPs), 350 constables and 70 home guards are deployed here under the joint commands of Cuttack rural SP and Cuttack city DCP.
The entire force would be under the joint command of a DIG-level officer.
Similarly, the district administration has deputed eight magistrates and 21 sector officers to oversee the law and order situation.
According to the returning officer and sub collector of Athgarh, a total of 218 presiding officers and 436 first and second polling officers have been put on duty to conduct the polling in all the booths.
“All the polling parties have been dispatched to their respective booths along with EVMs and other necessary materials”, said the Returning Officer Trilochan Pradhan.
On the other hand, the excise sleuths have also stepped up their activities raiding the illicit liquor joints for the past three days.
While all the liquor shops of the area (both foreign liquor and country spirit) have been shut down since March 15, the excise sleuths have seized huge quantities of illicit liquor from the area.
A total of 17 raids have been conducted during these days in which 16 persons were arrested and around 4,000 litres of ID spirit, country spirit, IMFL, beer, molasses and fermented gurh wash have been seized, said the district excise superintendent P.R. Patnaik.
A total of seven candidates, including four Independent are in the fray