Pradeep Singh

The notification for the Panchayat polls in Odisha will be released on January 13, while the filing of nomination by candidates will begin from January 17 and continue till January 21, 2021. 

In the mean time, politics has heated up in villages across the State with meetings being hold to select the candidates and chalk out strategies for the polls.

An aspiring Sarpanch said that announcement of Panchayat poll dates has heated up village politics as several aspirants have started to vie for tickets. "The Panchayat elections are like a festival in villages and the atmosphere has heated up now," he said

"We will try to reach out to people as much as possible with door-to-door campaigns, as we are not that equipped to go for digital campaigning," said Niranjan Barik, an aspiring Sarpanch.

Meanwhile, the ruling BJD is reportedly facing a problem of plenty (surplus candidates) which has also allegedly led to clashes between rival groups within the party at Karanjia in Mayurbhanj district.

Speaking on the issue, BJD MLA Amar Satapathy said, “Our activities for the Panchayat polls are underway. There is no issue regarding the selection of candidates. Problems are often witnessed during elections, but we will resolve in case any such issue arises.”

State BJP general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan said, "We already have plans, as per which, a detailed list of all the candidates for the Panchayat polls will reach the BJP headquarters by January 15. We are fully prepared and on the right track to win the election." 

"Congress has already taken the final decision regarding its candidates for the polls. Names of around 80 per cent candidates have been finalised, and, it will be 100 per cent by Sunday (January 16)," said senior Congress leader and Jatani MLA, Sura Routray.

It is worth mentioning that over 2.75 crore rural voters will exercise their franchise in the elections to elect 91913 Ward members, 6794 Sarpanchs, 6793 Panchayat Samiti members and 853 Zilla Parishad members. 

For the first time, there will be central counting at Block headquarters level. The counting will begin on February 26 and conclude on February 28, 2022.

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