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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 19:

A day after scrutinisation of nomination papers were conducted for Odisha panchayat polls, the State Election Commission (SEC) this evening came up with the list of eligible candidates. According to SEC, out of 2,20,789 nominations filed, 13,606 were rejected on various grounds and 2,07,183 candidates were deemed eligible.

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Out of 2,07,183 eligible nominations, there are 1,46, 664 ward member candidates, 31,086 sarpanch candidates, 25,714 samiti sabhya aspirants, and 3719 zilla parishad aspirants.

As many as 33,348 nominations had been received for sarpanch positions and 27,475 nominations for panchayat samiti sabhya. Highest number of nominations, however, had been filed by ward member candidates with 1,56,086 applications. Similarly, 3,880 nominations had been filed for zilla parishad polls where the candidates can contest on party tickets.

While highest 15,283 candidates continue to be in fray for the polls in Balasore, minimum 1,919 candidates are in fray in Malkangiri. Highest 16,054 nominations had been filed in Balasore district, lowest 1,908 nominations had been filed in Jharsuguda district.

The eligible candidates can withdraw their nominations until January 21 and the final list of candidates will be published on the same day.

According to the panchayat poll schedule announced by SEC Secretary Rabindranath Sahu earlier, voting will be conducted in five phases on February 13, 15, 17, 19 and 21 in a block-wise pattern. Casting of votes would take place from 7 am to 12 noon and counting of votes will be done from 1 pm onwards on these days.

The zilla parishad zone voting in the blocks across the state, barring two blocks, will be conducted in the same day. Voting in Pattamundai block under Kendrapara district and in Kolnara block under Rayagada district will be held in two phases on separate dates.

In the first phase on February 13, as many as 189 zilla parishad zones across 65 blocks will go to polls. On February 15 in second phase, 175 zones across 65 blocks, another 175 zones across 65 blocks on February 17 in third phase, 162 zones across 62 blocks on February 19 in fourth phase, and 151 zones across 59 blocks on February 21 in the fifth phase will go to polls, according to Sahu.

The elections will be held for the posts of 853 Zilla Parishad Members, 6802 sarpanchs, 6801 panchayat samiti members and 92,052 ward members in which 2,60,92,507 voters will decide the fate of the candidates.