Civic bodies in W. Odisha to go for polls on Nov 22

Bhubaneswar: The State Election Commission (SEC) on Monday announced that elections to the 22 urban local bodies (ULBs) in nine Western Odisha districts which were postponed due to the agitation by lawyers demanding permanent High Court bench in the region, would be held on November 22.
 
These districts are- Sambalpur, Sundergarh, Bargarh, Bolangir, Subarnapur, Debgarh, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi and Nupada.
 
Nomination forms will be issued from October 28 and can be submitted by November 1 while scrutiny of nominations will be held on November 4, an official notification issued on Monday said.
 
Candidates contesting in the polls however can withdraw their candidature on November 7, it said adding counting of votes will be held on November 23.
 
The SEC has set December 4 to elect chairpersons of the ULBs. According to the notification, the poll process will come to an end with the election of vice-chairpersons on December 30.
 
"The model code of conduct comes into immediate effect in these places with the announcement of poll dates," State Election Commissioner Ajit Tripathy said in a media conference. Total 6,07,715 voters will exercise their franchise at 669 booths of 342 wards, Tripathy said adding the 22 ULBs going for polls include 10 municipalities and 12 notified area councils (NACs).
 
“Civic polls won't be held in Sambalpur and Rourkela as the state government has started the process to accord corporation status to these towns. Similarly, the Hirakud ULB has been kept out of the list as it is going to be merged with the Sambalpur Municipal Corporation,” he stated.
 
Notably, the SEC had deferred polls in 25 civic bodies in nine western districts as filing of nominations was affected due to the impasse caused by the lawyers' strike. However, the agitation which was being steered by the Central Action Committee of All-Western Odisha Bar Association since August 20 came to an end after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote to Union Law minister Kapil Sibal recommending HC benches in Southern and Western Odisha.
 
Of the 65 ULBs, which went to polls on September 19, the ruling BJD had secured a majority in as many as 41 civic bodies, while opposition Congress won a majority in 10 civic bodies, and Independents managed to win in a majority of wards in two ULBs.