Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 18:

Odisha State Election Commission (SEC) has appointed 79 observers including 34 general observers and 32 expenditure observers to supervise upcoming panchayat polls.


According to reports, while the general observers—tasked with enforcing moral code of conduct as a representative of SEC — have already been deputed to their designated areas, the expenditure observers — tasked with keeping track of poll expenses of candidates –will be deployed starting January 22.

Meanwhile, a day after the nomination filing phase of Odisha panchayat polls drew to an end, scrutinisation of nomination papers was conducted today.

According to SEC Secretary Rabindranath Sahu, the list of eligible candidates will be published tomorrow.

The last date for withdrawal of nominations is January 21 and the final list of candidates will be published on the same day.

According to the panchayat poll schedule announced by 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.