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Pradeep Singh

For the first time in the Odisha Panchayat elections, there will be central counting of votes at Block headquarters on February 26, 27 and 28. The counting will be carried out under CCTV surveillance and continue without any break till it is completed.

As per the State Election Commission, counting for 315 Zilla Parishad zones will be conducted on February 26. Similarly, counting of votes for 307 and 229 ZP zones will be conducted on February 27 and 28, respectively.

Counting of votes for all other posts (Sarpanch, Samit member and Ward member) under a particular ZP zone, which will be going for the counting, will be done on the same day.

Tables will be distributed among the counting teams through lottery system which will be done at 7 am. One table will be allotted for every Panchayat with one counting supervisor, two counting assistants and one class-4 employee. 

Counting will begin at 8 am, and the ballot boxes will be brought to the tables 15 minutes prior to the start of counting. There will be separate tables for election officers and tabulation. The ballot papers will be separated as per their colours before the beginning of the counting.

Counting of ZP zones will be conducted constituency-wise. Zone no 1 of a Block will be counted on the first day and there will be one table each for all the Gram Panchayats under that particular ZP, informed State Election Commission Secretary, Rabindra Sahu.

The Election Commission has already stated that a ballot paper is liable for rejection if votes are recorded in favour of more than one candidate in the fray for the election. Besides, if a ballot paper is torn, and if it is hard to identify to whom a voter has voted for, it will be recorded as invalid.

Meanwhile, the State Election Commissioner Aditya Prasad Padhi held discussions with the Odisha Director General of Police (DGP) Sunil Bansal on the security arrangements for strong rooms and the counting centres, on Wednesday.

“Adequate police force has been deployed. This apart, CCTV cameras have been put up at the counting centres. Entry to the counting centre will be regulated,” said Bansal adding that all other measures will be also taken to rule out any untoward situation in and around the counting centres.

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