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None To Be Obstructed From Filing Nomination; SEC

Bhubaneswar: Odisha’s State Election Commissioner AP Padhi Thursday asked the collector of Bolangir district to ensure that no willing person is obstructed from filing nomination for the post of sarpanch of Bileisarada gram panchayat.

The order came in the backdrop of an allegation of auction for the post of sarpanch at Bileisarda gram panchayat for Rs 44,000.

Mr.Padhi issued this direction at a review meeting with all the district collectors through video-conferencing.

Earlier, the SEC had asked the district administration to submit a report on the matter.

Additional district magistrate Mahendra Mohapatra and Puintala BDO had submitted the report to the collector who had forwarded it to the SEC.

One Susant Chhatria had reportedly won the bid by promising to pay Rs 44,000 for the development of the Jagannath temple at the village under Puintala block.

The auction was done at a meeting attended by the heads of three villages- Bandanakata, Kasurpali, and Bileisarda- at the Jagannath temple where the alleged bidding took place.

Mr.Chhatria had said: “I have agreed to pay under one condition that none will contest against me. If I get elected unopposed, then my expenditure on campaigning will be saved. I will give that money for the development of the temple.”

Meanwhile, Padhi also reviewed the removal of hoardings, banners, and posters from government buildings and public places.

SEC Secretary R N Sahu said over 58,500 candidates on Thursday filed their papers for the upcoming three-tier panchayat election in the state.

The panchayat poll in the coastal state will be held in five phases on February 16, 18, 20, 22, and 24.

The counting of votes will be held on February 26, 27, and 28.