The State Election Commission (SEC) on Tuesday announced to hold the three-tier panchayat polls in Odisha from 16 to 24 February in accordance with the Election Commission of India’s COVID appropriate protocol for the assembly polls in five States.
Amid the spiraling Covid cases, SEC however banned rallies and public meetings while allowing digital and virtual campaigning.
As per the amendment in Odisha Gram Panchayat Act, the contestants who furnish false information in the affidavit will be punished.
Those, who will file false nominations, will be punished as per law. Rallies, public meetings will be banned in view of the ongoing COVID-19 situation. Only door-to-door canvassing, digital and virtual campaigning will be allowed.
The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) for the five-phase polls was enforced till 28 February after the completion of counting.
The three-tier polls will be held in five phases on February 16, 18, 20, 22, and 24. Voters will cast their franchise from 7 am to 1 pm. Counting of votes will take place at Block Sadar level on February 26, 27, and 28, State Election Commissioner Aditya Prasad Padhi told reporters here on Tuesday.
It is pertinent to note here that at the all-party meeting convened by the State Election Commissioner yesterday, members of almost all the opposition political parties –Congress, BJP, Left were of the firm view that the panchayat elections be deferred or put on hold till the Covid surge subsides and till the issue of reservation for OBC is settled. The ruling BJD was however in favour of holding the panchayat polls.