Model code of conduct for panchayat polls comes into force

Bhubaneswar: The State Election Commission (SEC), Odisha, today announced dates for the general elections to the three-tire panchayati raj institutions in five different phases to begin from February 13.

“The model code of conduct for the rural polls has come into the force from today. This will remain effective till February 21, the last phase polling date,” SEC Rabinarayan Senapati told reporters while announcing the dates for the panchayat elections.

The polling will take place in five phases on February 13, 15, 17, 19 and 21, Senapati said adding that a notification in this regard had been issued by the SEC.

Senapati said nomination papers filing would be done between January 11 and 17 except government holidays, while scrutiny of the same will be held on Jan 18. The last date for withdrawal of nominations is January 21 and the final list of candidates will be published on the same day, he said.

The notification said that the casting of votes would take place from 7 am to 12 noon and counting of votes will be done from 1 pm onwards on these days.

Senapati said the elections would be held for the posts of 853 Zilla Parishad Members, 6802 sarpanchs, 6801 panchayat samiti members and 92,052 ward members. As many as 2,60,92,507 voters would participate in the elections, he said adding that elaborate security arrangement would be made after consulting the officials of home department and police.

Senapati said the model code of conduct would be observed by political parties and candidates throughout the state. Normal development works and programme which have already commenced, relief and restoration works, expenditure for which have been voted by the state Assembly will continue.

“No new scheme or project of any kind shall be started nor any financial concessions be promised or announced by the government or any official agency which would have effect of influencing directly or indirectly the voters”, SEC said.

Senapati said the SEC has also intimated the state government not to effect the transfer of any official including the collectors and SPs without concurrence of the commission for smooth conduct of elections. The government had also been told to issue instructions for maintenance of neutrality by the government employees related with elections, he said.

He, however, said that the election to the of Sarpanch and 23 number of ward members of Dhinki Gram Panchayat under Ersama block of Jagatsinghpur district would not be held this time as their term had not been completed.

Similarly, as per the interim order of the High Court of Odisha, elections to Panchayat Samiti members of Parjang Panchayat Samiti of Dhenkanal district, Dasarathpur Panchayat Samiti of Jajpur district, Kolabira and Laikera Panchayat Samiti of Jharsuguda district, Bhawanipatna Panchayat Samiti of Kalahandi district and Rengali Panchayat Samiti of Sambalpur district were not being notified, the SEC said.

The district collectors would be in over all charge of the elction. In addition to this, the commission had appointed senior officers as observers and expenditure observers to supervise and oversee the smooth conduct of the elections to Panchayati Raj Institutions.