SEC gears up for Panchayat elections in 2017

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Bhubaneswar: Gearing up for the Panchayat Elections, which are almost a year away, the State Election Commission (SEC) has asked the Panchayatiraj department to reconstitute the Panchayats and submit a detailed list of panchayats after their reconstitution by May. After the reconstitution, the current number of 6336 panchayats is expected to rise by 700.

“We have sought a report from the Panchayatiraj department. They have assured us that they will complete their reorganization work and submit the report soon. It they can send us the report in another one or two months, then we can proceed with our work without any hassles,” said the Secretary of State Election Commission, Dukhiram Sathpaty.

According to sources, the Commission has begun assessment of ballot boxes, polling persons, police personnel, and the number of phases in which the polls will be conducted to ensure smooth voting.

The commission has already completed its preliminary discussions with the officials of the Panchayatiraj department and district Panchayat officers.

Notably, there are 6336 Panchayats with 87551 ward member and 854 Zila Parishad member posts in Odisha. After reorganization, 700 more Panchayats are likely to be added to the list.

“The commission has told us if the government is planning a reorganization of Panchayats, then it should complete the process by May. We have already received the proposals from most of the districts and we are reviewing them at the departmental level,” said Deoranjan Singh, the secretary of Panchayatiraj department.

On the other hand, political parties have already revealed their road maps for the polls scheduled to be held in 2017.

“The panchayat election will be held in the State in 2017 and the process for this will begin towards the end of 2016,” BJD vice-president Prasanna Acharya had said earlier.

While revealing his party’s plans in January, OPCC president Prasad Harichandan had said, “We will reach out to more people at the panchayat level in 2016. The organization is fully prepared to take the people’s fight forward during the 2017 panchayat polls.”

On its part, BJP had announced that it will start preparing for the 2017 Panchayat polls and 2019 Assembly polls after completion of organisational polls in 2016.

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