Kendrapara: After being postponed twice in the past few months, polling to Odisha's Patkura Assembly seat is underway, according to a report by PTI, which also added that voting commenced at 7am today (July 20).

An estimated 12% of the over 2.44 lakh electorate exercised their franchise during the first two hours of polling, an official report said

Voting is progressing peacefully with no untoward incident reported so far from anywhere in the constituency in coastal Kendrapara district, it added.

The constituency is witnessing an interesting political battle with Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik's bete noire, Bijoy Mohapatra of the BJP locking horns with Biju Janata Dal (BJD) nominee Sabitri Agarwal.

Mohapatra, a four-time MLA and one of the founders of the BJD, was ousted from the party by Patnaik just before the 2000 Assembly polls. Since then, he has not been able to make it to the state Assembly.

While there are 10 candidates in the fray, it is likely to be a straight fight between the BJD and the BJP.

Sabitri Agarwal, fielded by the BJD, is the wife of former Patkura MLA Bed Prakash Agarwal, who passed away on April 20, had first led to the postponement of polling.

Later, it was scheduled on May 19 but had to be deferred again in the aftermath of cyclone Fani, which barrelled through coastal districts of Odisha on May 3.

A total of 2,44,747 voters, including 1,17,306 women, are eligible to exercise their franchise in the election for which 1,700 polling personnel have been deployed.

Voting was delayed in some booths due to glitches in Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), which were corrected with immediate effect, a polling official said.

Extensive arrangements have been made to conduct a free and fair election in 309 polling booths, including 138 identified as crucial, he said.

Security personnel, including Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) jawans, have been deployed in the polling stations to maintain law and order, while 40 CCTV cameras are installed at several booths.

Arrangements have also been made for webcasting in 31 polling stations and videography in 15 places, while 52 micro observers were pressed into service, the official said.

Counting of votes is scheduled to be held on July 24.