The much-awaited municipal polls in the State, seen as the precursor for the general elections, will be held on September 19. The State Election Commission (SEC), which formally announced the schedule here on Monday, said 91 urban local bodies (ULBs), including one municipal corporation, will go to the polls. The tenure of these ULBs ends on September 29.
With the announcement, the model code of conduct comes into effect in 91 ULBs immediately. As per the schedule, all the election officers will issue notices on August 16. The nomination process will start on August 20 and end on August 24. Results will be announced on September 20.
As many as 27,56,844 voters in urban areas will exercise their rights in 3,010 booths for election to 1,569 wards under 32 municipalities, 58 notified area councils (NACs) and Berhampur Municipal Corporation. Since the delimitation of the local bodies was carried out on the basis of the 2001 census, the voters’ list has been prepared accordingly. Fifty per cent of the wards will remain reserved for women candidates. Electronic voting machines will be used for the polls in 29 districts, except Kandhamal.
Elections in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack will be held on a separate stage since tenure of these two bodies ends in December and February respectively.
State Election Commissioner Ajit Tripathy told mediapersons that the model code of conduct will remain in force only for 91 ULBs where no new work orders can be issued nor can fresh programmes or announcements be declared by the Government.
However, relief and rehabilitation measures necessitated by natural or other such disasters can be carried out. Though the model code does not apply to the ULBs where poll will not be held on September 19, the Government cannot announce special benefits for their employees nor for the population of the townships. “The Centre has also been requested not to announce any Odisha-specific programmes or schemes nor can it put up display advertisements about its achievements and success,” the SEC said.
The commission has already entrusted collectors as election officers in their respective districts whereas poll officer for each ULB has been appointed too. To ensure free and fair election, as many as 24 senior officers have been appointed observers while another 25 finance officers will act as observers for election expenditure.
Results will be announced on September 20 while the first meeting for Chairman election is scheduled on September 30.