BHUBANESWAR: State Election Commissioner (SEC) Aditya Prasad Padhi said on Friday that there will be central counting for the panchayat polls which are likely to be held in February next year. The SEC told mediapersons that the ballot boxes will be kept in strong rooms at the block level after polling. As one ballot box will be needed for one polling booth, the requirement of ballot boxes will be more this time, he said.
The SEC said that for the first time, central counting will be done for the panchayat elections. Earlier, counting was being done at the polling booths itself. All legal hurdles for holding the rural polls have been cleared with the State Assembly passing the Panchayat Laws (Amendment) Bill 2021 on September 8. The Bill has imposed a ceiling of 50 per cent for reservation of seats for scheduled caste, scheduled tribe and other backward class (OBC) candidates as per a Supreme Court direction.
Meanwhile, a delegation of BJP leaders led by president of the State OBC Morcha Surath Biswal submitted a memorandum to the SEC demanding correction of reservation of seats announced for the panchayat polls, claiming that it is faulty and unconstitutional.The memorandum said that while there was 27 per cent reservation of seats for OBCs in the earlier panchayat and urban local body polls, there is no clarity in the amended Act about it.