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Urban Poll on 24 March

Bhubaneswar: Just a day after completion of the Panchayat Election, the State Election Commission (SEC) on Friday presented a surprise by announcing General Election to 109 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) will be held in the State on 24 March, 2022.

While entire political parties are engaged in Rural Poll, SEC Aditya Prasad Padhi has announced the details of Urban Poll, which came as a shocker for the political lot.

However SEC was engaged in elaborate exercise on Urban Poll since 10 February, when he met the Political Leaders to discuss issues pertaining to conduct of Urban Poll.

Addressing a press conference here at his office, State Election Commissioner Mr.Padhi said the elections to 47 Municipalities, 59 Notified Area Councils (NACs) and three Municipal Corporations will be held on March 24. The election results will be declared on March 26, he said.

He said the Election Officer will issue formal notification for the election on February 28 while candidates can file their nominations in between March 2 and March 7.

Scrutiny of the papers will be done on March 9 and the last date for withdrawal of nominations is March 14 (excluding government holiday). The final list of candidates will be notified on January 25, said Padhi.    

 The Model Code of Conduct issued by the Commission will remain in force only in the jurisdictions of the ULBs from today till March 26, said the Election Commissioner.

This time there will be a direct election for the post of Mayor and Chairperson. So the indirect election for the post of Deputy Mayor and Vice-Chairperson will be conducted on April 8 and April 7, respectively.  

Mr.Padhi said the tenure of maximum ULBs in Odisha ended in September 2018 while the tenure of Hindol and Attabira NACs has not been completed so far. The newly constituted NACs at Remuna, Chandbali, Dhamnagar and Bijepur will go for election for the first time, he informed.

Similarly, the tenure of three municipal corporations- Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) and Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BeMC) has also been completed.

The tenure of BeMC ended in September 2018 while the period of BMC and CMC ended in January & February, 2019, respectively. Elections in the other two Corporations—Sambalpur and Rourkela have been stayed by the Orissa High Court, Padhi said.  

The Housing and Urban Development Department has already notified the delimitation and reservation of seats in these 109 ULBs and the Department has also issued notification calling upon elections in these civic bodies. The final voters’ list in these ULBs was also published yesterday.

Over 41 lakh voters are eligible to cast their votes in the Urban Elections. About 27 lakh voters, 3,030 booths and 1731 wards are there in 106 Municipalities and NACs while there are 14.26 lakh voters, 168 wards and 1407 booths in three Corporations.

Two EVMs will be used in each booth- one to elect Mayor/Chairperson and another for Corporators and Councillors. For the first time, there will be a none-of-the-above (NOTA) option for voters in the EVMs.

It is to be noted that there will be ballot papers of two different colours to be used in the. The colour of Ballot Papers for the Corporators/Councilor will be ‘pink’ and Mayor/Chairperson will be ‘yellow’. The papers will be passed on to the control unit of EVM.

This time, the submission of affidavits by the candidates has been made compulsory as the non-submission will result in the cancellation of the nomination.

The candidates are required to submit two affidavits this time including a list of educational qualifications and assets while the other affidavit will have information about family (wife and children).

Recently, the SEC has increased the expenditure limit of the candidates contesting for various posts in the Urban Poll.