Counting of votes for Chitrakot assembly bypoll in Chhattisgarh will be taken up on Thursday.

Both the Congress and opposition BJP are eying victory in the Naxal-affected segment reserved for Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates.

Counting of votes will begin at 8 am at Women Polytechnic College, Dharampura, at the Bastar district headquarter Jagdalpur, a poll official said on Wednesday.

The by-election was necessitated after Congress MLA Deepak Baij got elected to Lok Sabha from Bastar parliamentary constituency.

A voter turnout of 78.12 per cent was recorded in the by-election held on October 21.

The main contest lies between Rajman Benzam of Congress and Lachhuram Kashyap of BJP.

“A three-layered security has been arranged at the counting centre,” the official said, adding that postal ballots will be counted first.

After completion of counting of votes polled in the EVMs, matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs will be carried out, he added.

In the 2018 Assembly elections, Congress’ Deepak Baij had defeated BJP’s Kashyap from the constituency by a margin of 17,770 votes.

In the 90-member House, the Congress had won 68 seats and the BJP 15. The Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) and the BSP had bagged five and two seats, respectively.