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Rural Poll Guidelines Soon

Bhubaneswar: Giving a clear indication towards timely conduct of Panchayat elections, State Election Commissioner Aditya Prasad Padhi on Monday said detailed guidelines for the poll will be issued soon, keeping the prevailing Covid-19 situation in mind.   

Mr.Padhi today held a meeting with the representatives of all political parties of the State and took their feedback and suggestions for free, fair and safe conduct of the election.  

All political parties expressed their views on whether the polls can be held or not under the present Covid-19 situation.

“The Election Commission of India (ECI) has already issued guidelines on the conduct of assembly elections in several states. We are framing similar guidelines to ensure free, fair and safe poll in the State. The guidelines will be issued soon,” said Mr.Padhi.

Meanwhile, Opposition BJP and Congress have proposed the SEC for postponement of the polls for a period of three months in view of the prevailing Covid-19 situation in the State and issues on reservation for ST and OBC candidates.

On the other hand, senior BJD wants that the Constitutional right of voters to exercise their franchise is not denied and the polls are held on time.

BJP lawmaker Mohan Majhi urged the SEC to defer the election by two to three months after completion of Covid-19 third wave peak period.

Senior Congress leader Ganeshwar Behera said, “Apart from the BJD, all other parties believe that polls are not feasible under the present circumstances of the steep rise in Covid-19 cases. We urged the Commission to defer the poll by three months.”

However,  Rajya Sabha Member Amar Patnaik, who represented ruling BJD  in the meeting, said the tenure of the elected representatives of all rural bodies across the State will end in March.

“BJD wants the Constitutional right of voters to exercise their franchise and the poll should not be delayed a single minute. The BJD has assured to extend all support to the Commission in conducting the polls with strict compliance of the Covid-19 norms.

Meanwhile, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in Orissa High Court seeking postponement of the rural polls to give reservation to the OBC people.