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Fourth Phase Poll In 163 ZP

Bhubaneswar: The fourth phase of the three-tier Panchayat elections in the State will be held at 163 Zilla Parishad (ZP) zones in 27 districts tomorrow.

The State Election Commission (SEC) has made necessary arrangements for smooth conduct of the election at 17,089 booths in 12,54-Gram Panchayats (GPs) in 64 Blocks, said Commission Secretary, R N Sahu here on Monday.

The SEC has identified 2,563 booths as sensitive booths and tight security measures have been put in place in these booths. Over 51.31 lakh voters are eligible to cast their votes in this phase, he said.

At least 667 candidates are in fray for the 163 ZP Member seats and their fate will be decided by the voters tomorrow.

In view of the declining trend of Covid-19 cases in the State, the Commission has relaxed certain restrictions imposed earlier for counting of votes of the ongoing Panchayat Polls. The SEC on Monday wrote to all district Collectors in this regard.

As per the latest order, there is no need to undergo compulsory Covid-19 testing (RT-PCR or Antigen) to enter into the counting centres within 48 hours of the commencement of counting.

Now, all persons entering the counting centres should be thermally scanned. Only double vaccinated persons will be allowed inside the counting centres. Besides, those showing Covid-19 symptoms will not be allowed into the counting centres. The counting of votes will be done on February 26, 27 and 28.