Rashmi Ranjan

With just a day before the panchayat elections in Odisha, final preparations are being put in place for the smooth polling of votes for electing representatives to the three-tier Panchayati Raj bodies in the State.

In the first phase of election on February 16, votes will be polled at 200 zilla parishad zones in 71 blocks. Voting will be carried out at 22379 wards and 1669 panchayats across the State. As many as 67.51 lakh voters will exercise their franchise.

As the deadline for campaigning exercise for the first phase of election set to expire today evening, candidates are leaving no stones unturned to make last ditch effort in wooing voters in their favour. On the other hand, polling parties have already started arriving at their designated booths in several parts of the State. 

According to sources, polling officials will leave for their respective booths in 11 districts - Balasore, Bhadrak, Khordha, Nayagarh, Puri, Ganjam, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Boudh, Rayagada and Koraput today. Similarly, other group of the polling parties will leave for the remaining 19 districts tomorrow.

Situation In Puri: 

In the first phase, the Krushnaprasad, Bramhagiri and Kanas block in Puri will go to the polls in the first phase of the three-tier election. Votes will be polled for 21 sarpanch and samiti member posts, 240 wards and 2 zilla parishad zones in Krushnaprasad block while polling will be conducted for 25 sarpanch and samiti member, 374 wards and 3 zilla parishad zones in Bramhagiri. In Kanas, the voting will held for 28 sarpanch and samiti member, 359 wards and 3 zilla parishad zones.

Situation In Gajapati:

Meanwhile in Gajapati district, almost all preparations have been finalised for the election. The polling officials have left for Mohana block from Paralakhemundi. 

Situation In Kandhamal:

In Kandhamal, the election will be held in Baliguda and K Nuagaon block on February 16. 

As many as 3705 polling personnel have been divided into separate teams each comprising four members - presiding officer, first polling officer, second polling officer and a policeman for the smooth conduct of the elections.

Voting will be conducted at 2322 booths at equal number of wards in the district. Moreover, arrangements to set up two pink booths at each block in the district have been made to ensure peaceful voting.