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Mrunal Manmay Dash

An all-party meeting will be held soon to discuss the modalities regarding the conduct of Panchayat Polls likely to be held earlier next year (2022), informed the Secretary of the Odisha Chief Election Commissioner on Wednesday.

More importantly, the dates of the polls are very likely to be announced after the meet, he said.

It is pertinent to mention here that the final draft of the district-wise voter list was published on December 4. As far as the number of voters is concerned, it has increased since the last election in 2017. While the 2017 voters list had 2.61 crore voters on it, the 2022 list has 2.63 crore. However, the number of wards has been reduced this time around.

As per an earlier notification issued by the State Panchayati Raj Department, four Zilla Parishad (ZP) president posts in the districts of Angul, Khordha, Nayagarh and Sonepur have been reserved for OBC candidates.

Similarly, candidates from the Scheduled Caste (SC) category will be allowed to head the top most tier of the Panchayati Raj system in four districts, namely Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Bhadrak and Jajpur.

The State Election Commission (SEC), Odisha, has already increased the poll expenditure limit for candidates who would contest for the posts of sarpanch, panchayat samiti member and Zilla Parishad member in the upcoming panchayat elections in the State.

As per the revised expenditure limit, a candidate who would contest for the post of Zilla Parishad member can now spend up to Rs 5 lakh while the expenditure ceiling for panchayat samiti member and sarpanch has been hiked to Rs 2 lakh.

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