Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Nayagarh, Apr 1:
The Odisha State Election Commission on Tuesday postponed the elections to Ranpur Notified Area Council (NAC) in Nayagarh district scheduled to be held on April 7 over discrepancies in the poll list.
A release from the Commission’s office said the elections to the Ranpur NAC, which was scheduled to be held on April 7 along with eight other ULBs, has now been postponed to May 5.
“There were discrepancies in the reserved category list, which were brought to the notice of the Commission. As per the directions of the SEC, the elections have been postponed,” Nayagarh Collector Hemant Kumar Padhi said.
As the Urban Local Body (ULB) poll has been deferred, the candidates would now have to file their nominations afresh.
The reserved category electoral list is prepared in three phases prior to the polls. Before the NAC elections, the officials prepare a list of number of voters under the category of Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, general, women and men in various wards. Following the data collection, the Collector then prepares a list of reserved category voters. Later on, the complaints of people on discrepancies, if any, in the list is invited. The revised list is then sent to the concerned minister. However, the minister does have the power to revise the list if at all he/she receives any complaint regarding the list. The list is later sent to the concerned Collector, who publishes it as the final list, additional district magistrate Rabindra Nath Sahu informed.
Notably, the Nayagarh Collector had prepared a reserved category list of the Ranpur NAC on August 26 last year. As per the procedure, the Collector had sent the list to the minister on September 12 after making necessary changes upon complaints. The minister had sent the list to the Collector on October 30 for publication of final list.
However, instead of making the final list based on the October 30 list, the Collector erroneously prepared the final list with reference to the September 12 list and it was made public.
When the Collector came to know about the gaffe on Monday, he informed the SEC about the matter following which the election conducting body published a fresh notification yesterday.
For this goof up, the Collector Hemant Kumar Padhi has served show-cause notices on the Election officer and Additional Tehsildar Anil Patnaik, Election officer and Tehsildar Pratibha Sahu.
Ranpur Additional Tehsildar has now been replaced by Nayagarh Sub Collector as Election Officer.
As per the fresh notification, the process of filing nomination papers will take place between April 13 and 18, and the scrutiny of the nominations April 20. The last date for withdrawal of nomination papers is April 23, after which the final list of candidates contesting the poll will be made public.
While electors will cast their votes on May 5, counting will be done on the following day, May 6. After the counting of ballots is over, the name of the winning candidates will be declared.
“The NAC Chairman and Vice-Chairman will be elected on May 18 and June 7 respectively,” Sahu said.
It may be recalled that the SEC had issued a notification on March 3 for elections to nine urban local bodies (ULBs), including four newly constituted notified area councils (NACs), in the state scheduled to be held on April 7.
Of the nine ULBs, Dharmagarh, Tusra, Daspalla and Ranpur are the newly formed ULBs where elections will be held for the first time. The other five ULBs where elections will be held are Paradip municipality, Sunabeda municipality, Belpahar municipality, Balimela NAC and Redhakhol NAC.