No ULB polls in nine W. Odisha dists for now: SEC

Bhubaneswar: Elections to the to the urban local bodies in nine western Odisha districts have been postponed due to the continuing impasse in the region in connection with demand to set up a High Court bench in the region.
This was declared by State Election Commissioner Ajit Tripathy here on Thursday and the announcement came on the last day of the withdrawal of nominations.
Informing this, Tripathy said, “Elections to the urban local bodies in Bolangir, Bargarh, Debgarh, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Sundergarh, Sonepur and Sambalpur districts have been postponed due to the ongoing agitation by the lawyers in these districts. We have decided this following reports from Collectors and SPs of the respective districts.”
The official however stated that the next step would be taken only after analysing the legal issues.
Filing of nomination papers was completely disrupted in the region after the Central Action Committee of the All Western Odisha Bar Association (AWOBA) spearheaded the agitation a week back, pulling all political parties under a single roof to support the momentum in favour of the sole demand. The association members also staged relay dharnas in front of the RDC office at Sambalpur while others resorted to demonstration outside the municipality office preventing staff from attending the office.
Meanwhile, stepping up their agitation, the political parties called for a boycott of ULB polls in Western Odisha demanding establishment of a permanent bench of the Orissa High Court.
“Due to the bandh, it was highly impossible to scrutinize the papers,” Tripathy added.
As per reports received by the SEC, not a single nomination paper was filed in 20 ULBs in nine districts. At least six districts including Balangir, Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Nuapada, Sambalpur and Sonepur saw a complete boycott of nomination process.
However, in Sundargarh, Kalahandi and Bargarh districts, four ULBs reported filing of nomination papers while six urban bodies reported boycott.
In Padampur NAC of Bargarh, 50 nomination papers were filed whereas 13 nomination papers each were filed in Bhawanipatna Municipality and Kesinga NAC under Kalahandi.
The ULB polls are scheduled to be held in 58 notified area councils, 32 municipalities and one municipal corporation (Berhampur) on September 19.