Rural polls: Filing of nominations begins

 Hectic lobbying is on in different parties for tickets, even as filing of nomination papers for the three-tier panchayat polls got under way on Saturday. Candidates for the posts of ward members, sarpanch, panchayat samiti member and zilla parishad member were seen taking out processions to file nomination papers before their respective election officers in different parts of the state. The State Election Commission was yet to compile information on the number of candidates who filed their nomination papers on the first day, sources said.

Though only zilla parishad elections are held under political party banners, candidates for posts of ward member, sarpanch and panchayat samiti member are also trying to get support from different parties to shore up their prospects. Major parties like BJD, Congress and BJP are yet to complete their candidate selection processes.

According to poll schedule, filing of nominations would be held from January 7 and January 12, except government holidays. Scrutiny of papers will be on January 13. Withdrawal of candidature and publication of the final list of contestants would take place on January 18. The five-phase elections are slated on February 11, 13, 15, 17 and 19. State Election Commission sources said polling would be staggered in a block-wise manner in 22 districts of the state, while in four districts (Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Rayagada and Gajapati) polling would be phased both block-wise and zilla parishad zone-wise. In Koraput, Malkangiri, Nuapada and Sambalpur districts elections would be held taking into account different zilla parishad zones, commission sources said.

A maximum of over 2.44 crore voters will exercise their franchise to elect around one lakh grassroots-level representatives. Fifty per cent of the posts have been reserved for women, up from 33 per cent quota in the previous polls in 2007.

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