Sharmili Mallick

The State Election Commission, Odisha on Thursday published the formal notification for the three-tier Panchayat polls in the State. The elections will be held in five phases from February 16 to 24 amid strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols.

The notification: 

The candidates can file their nominations for Sarpanchs, Samiti members and Zilla Parishad member posts from January 17 to January 21 while the scrutiny of the nomination papers will be done on January 22.

The candidates can withdraw their nomination papers till January 25 while the final list of candidates will be published on the same day, read the notification.

The election for the posts of Panchayat Samiti vice-chairperson and Zilla Parishad vice-president will be conducted on March 23 and 25. The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) will remain in force from today till February 28 throughout the State.

The Panchayat polls will be held in five phases on February 16, 18, 20, 22, and 24. The counting of votes and declaration of results will be done at all the block levels on February 26, 27, and 28.

Around 2.79 crore voters across the State will exercise their franchise to elect 91,913 Ward members, 6,794 Sarpanchs, 6,793 Panchayat Samiti members, and 853 Zilla Parishad members. The voting will commence at 7 am and continue till 1 pm.

On the other hand, the State government on Wednesday issued guidelines for the conduct of Panchayat polls keeping in mind the rising cases of Covid-19. 

As per the directions of the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC), only door-to-door campaigning, with not more than five people including the candidate, is allowed. No physical rally of political parties or probable candidates or any other group related to the election would be allowed to campaign. Instead, the candidates have been advised to campaign over social or electronic media.

Covid positive candidates have been restricted from campaigning. Such candidates can campaign through electronic media only.