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Odisha State Election Commission to announce rural polls soon

Meanwhile, the Opposition political parties demanded postponement of the polls citing the third wave of the pandemic and lack of reservation for ST and OBC candidates.

Published: 11th January 2022 05:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th January 2022 05:01 AM   |  A+A-

Aditya Prasad Padhi

Odisha State Election Commissioner Aditya Prasad Padhi met Governor Ganeshi Lal at the Raj Bhavan to brief him about election preparations. (File | PTI)

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Even as the BJP and Congress have demanded that panchayat elections be deferred by at least three months till the Covid pandemic subsides, the State Election Commission (SEC) is set to issue detailed guidelines for holding the polls soon.

SEC Aditya Prasad Padhi on Monday hinted that the panchayat elections are likely to be announced in a day or two. He met Governor Ganeshi Lal at the Raj Bhavan to brief him about preparations and also reviewed the law and order situation at a high-level meeting with DGP SK Bansal and Additional Chief Secretary in the Home department Sanjeev Chopra.

Meanwhile, the Opposition political parties demanded postponement of the polls for the third wave of the pandemic and lack of reservation for ST and OBC candidates. The demands were placed at the all-party meeting called by the SEC. The ruling BJD, however, insisted on holding the elections on time.

BJP and Congress seek poll deferment

Stating that all political parties expressed their views on holding of polls amidst the pandemic, the SEC said detailed guidelines for the election will be issued soon. The SEC said that the focus will be on conducting the election in a free and fair manner with strict compliance of Covid protocols.

Opposition chief whip and senior BJP leader Mohan Majhi said that the BJP submitted nine demands including reservation for OBCs and STs at the meeting. The party also demanded deferment of polls till the pandemic subsided, he added.

Majhi said the poll can be held in a free and fair manner and the lives of people protected only if it is held after the Covid-19 third wave peak and fulfilment of demands pertaining to reservations.

Senior Congress leader Ganeswar Behera said that except BJD, all other parties said that election is not feasible under the present circumstances in view of the steep rise in Covid-19 cases. “We demanded to postpone the polls by three months. It is unfortunate that the commission did not pay any heed to our pleas,” he added. 

Behera said his party also raised the issue of reservation of STs and OBCs. “We believe it will not be appropriate to hold the polls without giving them justice,” he added.

BJD Rajya Sabha MP Amar Patnaik said that BJD wants polls to be held on time. Stating that tenure of the elected representatives of all rural bodies across the State will end in March, Patnaik said BJD wants that the Constitutional rights of voters to exercise their franchise is not denied and the polls are held on time. 

“We have assured to extend our support to the Election Commission in conducting the polls while enforcing the Covid-19 guidelines strictly,” he added.



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