Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

As Odisha preps up for the Panchayat Polls, the State Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday made a big announcement while informing that the number of poll-bound gram panchayats will be lesser in the upcoming elections next year in comparison to 2017.

As per the declaration by the State EC, elections have been ruled out in as many as seven gram panchayats which have been merged in different NACs.

In 2017, polls were conducted in 6,801 village panchayats. However, their number has reduced to 6,794 for the upcoming polls. The panchayats that have been excluded from the list include 4 from Balasore's Remuna NAC, 2 from Nayagarh's Odagaon and one from Bargarh's Bijepur.

Moreover, elections will not be conducted in 111 wards for the position of ward member. While the election was conducted in 92,027 wards in the last term, 91,916 wards will go for elections in the upcoming term.

Meanwhile, for the three-tier Panchayat elections, while a total of 49,469 ward member seats have been reserved for women, 12,031 have been reserved for candidates belonging to the Socially & Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC).

On the other hand, at the panchayat level, 3,500 seats for Sarpanch posts have been reserved for women while 778 seats are reserved for OBC from the total 6,794 seats. Similarly, 3538 seats for women and 913 seats for OBCs have been reserved for the panchayat Samiti member position.