Bhubaneswar: The State Election Commission (SEC) today announced the schedule for the ensuing Panchayat Polls.
Briefing mediapersons, State Election Commissioner Aditya Prasad Padhi said the three-tier elections will be held in five phases on February 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24. People will exercise their franchise from 7 am to 1 pm. Counting of votes will take place at Block, Sadar level on February 26, 27 and 28.
The notification for the polls will be released on January 13. The final list of candidates will be out on January 25. Candidates will file their nominations from January 17 to 21 while scrutiny of papers will be done on January 22. The last date for withdrawal of nomination papers is January 25, the SEC informed.
Those, who will file false affidavit in their nominations, will be punished as per law. Rallies, public meetings will be banned in view of the ongoing COVID-19 situation. Only digital and virtual campaigning will be allowed, he added.
“Door-to-door campaign will be allowed with only five people. No victory processes will be allowed. Vaccinated and COVID-19 negative people will only be allowed inside counting centres,” he added.
The official further informed that elections for Naib Sarpanch will be held on March 11, for Panchayat Samiti Chairman on March 12 and Zilla Parishad Chairman on March 13.
Earlier yesterday, the SEC had convened an all-party meeting for conduct of the upcoming polls.
With announcement of the date, Model Code of Conduct (MCC) for political parties and candidates has come into force with immediate effect till the completion of the elections in the state.
The polls will be held in 91,913 wards under 6,794 panchayats in 29 out of 30 districts of the State. In 2017, the election was held in 6,801 GPs.
The polls will not be held in seven GPs this time as they have been included in NACs. The seven GPs include four from Remuna in Balasore, two from Odanga in Nayagarh and one from Bijepur in Bargarh district.
However, opposition BJP and Congress representatives had demanded postponement of the polls by three months keeping in view the prevailing COVID-19 situation.