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All Set For Rural Poll

Bhubaneswar: State Election Commission (SEC) headed by Aditya Prasad Padhi has made elaborate arrangements for smooth conduct of the first phase Panchayat Election in the State tomorrow.   

The three-tier Panchayat election in Odisha will be held in five phases on February 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24. Over 2.79 crore voters will exercise their franchise in 6794 Panchayats and of 91,913 wards, said State Election Commissioner AP Padhi here on Tuesday.    

In the first phase of election, 200 Zilla Parishad zones in 71 blocks in all 30 districts will go for vote. Voting will be carried out at 22,379 wards and 1,669 Panchayats across the State, Mr.Padhi said.

Over 67.51 lakh voters will decide the fate of 726 Zilla Parishad (ZP) candidates along with other candidates in fray for the post of Ward Member, Sarpanch, Panchayat Samiti Member and ZP Member in this phase.

Out of the total 91,913 polling booths, 13,785 have been identified as sensitive. Polling will be held at 3,357 such booths in the first phase tomorrow, he said.

Polling personnel have been disbursed to the places that will go for poll tomorrow. All polling officials will reach their respective booth by this evening, Mr.Padhi said.

Speaking about security arrangements made for the elections, the Commissioner said a total of 225 platoons of force comprising 37,245 police personnel will be deployed to maintain law and order.

The polling will be held from 7 AM to 1 PM and only voters whose names are mentioned in the ward-wise voters’ list will be allowed to cast their votes, he informed.

At the time of polling, each voter is required to produce their Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC) or any of the 13 other ID proofs approved by the State Election Commission.  

As the elections are being held under Covid-19 restrictions, it is mandatory that the voters will have to wear masks and maintain social distance at the polling booth.

The Covid positive voters will be allowed to cast their vote during the last hour of polling with strict adherence to the Covid-19 protocols, he added.