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Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Odisha Housing and Urban Development Department issued a gazette notification proposing reservation for Mayors for all the three Municipal Corporations, the elections for which will be held after the Panchayat Polls in February.

As per the gazette notification, the Mayor’s office in Berhampur and Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporations will be reserved for women candidates. However, the Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) will have an un-reserved Mayor office.

The notice read, “In pursuance of the Odisha Municipal Corporation Act, 2003, the State Government do hereby publish this notification in the Odisha Gazette showing the proposal for reservation of the Offices of Mayor in the Municipal Corporations.”

The department invited objections and suggestions from all persons interested which may be filed before the Director, Municipal Administration within a period of fifteen days from the date of publication of the gazette.

Any objection or suggestion which will be received in respect of the proposal within the specified period will be considered by the State Government.

Following the Panchayat polls in February this year, the elections for the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) including three Municipal Corporations and 107 Municipalities is scheduled to be held.

The State Election Commission has already despatched Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) to 15 districts on December 16, 2022.

It is pertinent to mention here that the civic bodies have been running without public representatives since 2018 when the tenure of the last elected corporators and councillors ended.

The State government cleared the decks for the elections after a gap of three years in October this year.

This time around, the rules of election have been tweaked a bit. The voters will be electing the Mayors and Municipal Chairmen directly. So, there will be requirement of two EVMs in each booth; one for electing corporators/councillors and the other one for electing Mayors/Municipal Chairmen. So, at least 11000 EVMs will be required for conducting polls in approximately 5000 booths.

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