BHUBANESWAR: Even as political parties grappled with the task of candidate selection for the panchayat election, thousands of nominees filed their papers on the first day. As many as 8,772 candidates have filed their nomination papers including 7,116 for ward members.
According to the State Election Commission (SEC), 1,122 candidates have filed nomination papers for the post of sarpanch. Similarly, 512 and 22 candidates have submitted their nomination papers for the posts of panchayat samiti and zilla parishad (ZP) member, respectively. Chairperson of the panchayat samiti and president of the ZP will be nominated from among the elected members.
However, the ruling BJD finds itself in a very tricky situation because of a large number of aspirants for the post of sarpanch. If sources in the party are to be believed, there are on an average 10 aspirants for every post of sarpanch. As the process for the candidate selection has been decentralised except for the final decision, the MLAs are in a fix.
As announcement of BJD’s choice cannot be made as rest of the aspirants will go against the party, the ruling party has decided not to intervene in the process and let all the aspirants contest. A decision will be taken on the party loyalty of the sarpanchs after the election.
Candidates can file their nominations for sarpanch, samiti member and ZP member posts till January 21 while the scrutiny of the nomination papers will be carried out on January 22. While January 25 is the last date for withdrawal of nomination papers, the final list of candidates will be published the same day.
Meanwhile, State Election Commissioner (SEC) AP Padhi on Monday asked district observers and expenditure observers to keep a strict watch on the situation and submit regular reports to the Commission. He asked the observers to work for a free and fair election amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. He said that all preparations should be made to keep the election Covid free.
The SEC said that observers should be watchful about the implementation of the model code of conduct during campaigning and should also ensure that no rallies are held. He also asked the expenditure observers to scrutinise the spending of the political parties and candidates and use of vehicles. He said that if any candidate or political party is found to have made expenditure beyond the limit, it should be immediately brought to the notice of the SEC.