Speculations rife on early polls following training of officials

Bhubaneswar: With the Election Commission starting trainings on poll management for government officials in the state, talks of early polls are doing rounds in political circles.

Senior government officials including Block Development Officers (BDOs), Sub Collectors and Tehsildars today appeared a test on poll preparations as part of the training exercise at the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) here today.

“Officials who would be deputed as Electoral Registration Officers and Assistant Electoral Registration Officers appeared the qualifying tests today . A total of 166 officials absent or disqualified during a previous test held in April, appeared it again,” informed Kashinath Sahu, Assistant CEO.

Nuapada sub collector, Dhareena Sen Naik, who also attended the programme informed that the test was about preparation on electoral roll and assignment of poll duties.

In a related development, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has informed that  Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs) will reach the states by September 30.

More than one lakh EVMs will be brought to Odisha from Uttar Pradesh and two officials have been assigned the task to ensure the same, informed sources. The ECI has started examining if the machines are functioning properly.

BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb said, “Election Commission has started poll preparations. I believe three major parties in the State including the BJD  have kick-started their poll preparation as well.”

Meanwhile, the BJP managing committee today met to review the progress of task given by national party chief Amit Shah. State in-charge Arun Singh also visited Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj districts to review the party works.

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“BJP is already poll ready and working as per the directive of Amit Shah,” BJP State President, Basant Panda said.

Leaving no stone unturned for poll preparations, OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik informed that names of 50% candidates will be declared by August.

“The ruling party has already started poll preparations which is evident from the number of schemes being launched in past few months. However, Congress will start poll-related work only after August 15,” Patnaik added.