SEC sets Sept 19 for urban polls, announces model code of conduct

Bhubaneswar: The State Election Commission (SEC) on Monday announced poll dates to 91 urban local bodies, including one municipal corporation viz. Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BMC). Polls will be held on September 19 and counting and results on September 20. The code of conduct will come into force with immediate effect, state election commissioner Ajit Tripathy said.
 
Similarly, notice will be issued on August 16 following which candidates can file nomination between August 20 and 24. Scrutiny of papers will be conducted on August 26 while final list of the candidates will be published on August 29, he added.
 
The election process to all ULBs including 32 municipalities, 58 Notified Area Councils (NACs) and BMC will be over by September 20 as the tenure of the ULBs ends on September 30, sources said. While the polls had been conducted at 1553 wards of 91 bodies last time, 16 more wards have been added this time after the border expansion taking the total number of wards to 1569. 
 
BMC has maximum number of 40 wards while maximum 33 wards are each in Rourkela and Puri municipalities. As many as 27,56,844 voters will lock the fate of candidates by pressing button of EVMs at 3010 centers, sources added. At least 50 percent seats will be reserved for the women candidates while SEBC candidates will get 27 percent reservation.
 
The model code of conduct would remain in force till completion of the elections and all political parties should abide by the SEC’s guidelines, Tripathy maintained.
 
As per the model code of conduct, no contestants belonging to any political parties can deliver speech which would hurt the religious sentiments of a particular community. Posters and banners mentioning names of aspirants and symbols are restricted to put on the walls of schools, colleges and any government offices. The candidates might be barred to contest if they resort to violence in order to spread fear among voters.
 
There are also some restrictions on poll campaigning. No loudspeakers would be allowed for the campaign during night between 8 pm and 7 am while the use of similar means of campaigning would be completely stopped 48 hours before the poll. Banners and hoardings which would obstruct public communication cannot be put on public roads.
 
The candidates are restricted to criticize their rival party over their personal lives and are prevented to demonstrate in front one’s house and government offices.
 
Similarly, there are certain rules for the candidates belonging to the ruling party. No new schemes or projects of any kind would be started nor any financial concession be promised or announced by the government or any official agency which may affect voters in the ULBs. Similarly, laying foundation stones and inauguration of any projects within the ULBs are restricted. Even, similar programmes beyond ULBs’ areas are not allowed if it would affect people. However, all relief and rehabilitation programmes will be continued, Tripathy said.
 
No ministers, MPs and MLAs would spend night at any government inspection bungalow and circuit houses during the code of conduct in force. However, such regulation would not be valid for the leaders enjoying Z category security.