SEC’s decision on panchayat polls in cut-off areas to be known today

Bhubaneswar: Following abduction of poll officials by Maoists and threat posters were issued by the ultras recently asking villagers to stay away from panchayat polls or else face consequences, State Election Commissioner R N Senapati is expected to take a decision today on whether to hold the panchayat elections in the cut-off areas of Malkangiri during the five phases for which dates have been announced, said sources.

As nomination filing process has been disrupted in five panchayats of the cut-off areas due to the recent happenings, the State Election Commission (SEC) might extend the deadline for poll candidates of the panchayats for filing of papers as well, the sources added.

A new last date for nomination filing for Panasput, Andrapalli, Jantri, Gajalmamudi, Jodamba panchayats in cut-off areas are likely to be announced today, the sources mentioned.

Also read: SEC announces schedule for Panchayat polls

The SEC might also think of holding panchayat polls in the cut-off areas only amid special security later once the voting process gets over in other parts of Odisha, the sources further said.

Notably, the state poll commission had earlier notified that nomination papers can be filed in between January 11 and 17. Scrutiny will be held on January 18 while the last date for nomination withdrawal is January 21. The final list of poll candidates will be announced on the same day.

The panchayat polls will be held in five phases: February 13, 15, 17, 19 and 21.