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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 11:

The process of filing nomination papers for the upcoming panchayat polls began today and will continue till January 17, State Election Commission (SEC) Secretary Rabindra Nath Sahu said today.

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According to reports, at the last count at the end of the day, as many as 6,385 candidates today filed their nomination on the first day. While the highest number of nominations were filed in Ganjam with 531 filings, lowest were reported in Jharsuguda at 7.

According to Sahu, the papers will be scrutinized on January 18 and the candidates can withdraw their nominations till January 21. The final list of candidates will be published the same day after 3 PM.

While independent candidates today began filing their nominations, major political parties of the state including BJD, Congress and BJP said that their list of candidates for the 852 Zila Parishad zones is in final stages.

The Zila Parishad elections will be fought on party symbols, while other posts such as sarpanch and samiti members would not be contested on party symbols.

BJD Vice President Surya Narayan Patro today said that BJD President Naveen Patnaik is reviewing the candidate lists and tickets would be distributed soon.

Odisha BJP President Basant Panda said they have finalised candidates in 90 percent Zila Parishad zones and the remaining candidates would be finalised within a day or two.

Pradesh Congress Committee President Prasad Harichandan yesterday said they have almost finalised their candidates and were in the process of distributing tickets to them.

Apart from the tickets, BJD and BJP today declared their mandatory list of star campaigners. While BJD’s list included 40 names, BJP’s star campaigner list included as many as 47 names.