Odisha Channel Bureau
BHUBANESWAR: Campaigning for the first phase of three-tier panchayat elections in Odisha scheduled to be held on February 13 came to an end on Saturday evening.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik campaigned for votes in Ganjam district by participating in a road show organised for the panchayat poll. Many Zilla Parishad nominees of the BJD and hundreds of party supporters and workers took part in Patnaik’s road show.
Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Prasad Harichandan and many other senior Congress leaders of the party too attended public meetings and rallies to garner votes for Congress Zilla Parishad candidates.
Similarly, many BJP leaders, including party’s State unit president Basanta Panda campaigned for their party Zilla Parishad candidates in different parts of the State.
Both Congress and BJP are trying hard to draw political benefit out of the infighting prevailing in the ruling BJD’s grassroots units.
Meanwhile, the State Election Commission announced that preparations had been made for the first phase polling on Monday.
While security arrangements were being put in place, polling parties were being dispatched to places where polling will be conducted on Monday.
In the first phase, polling will be held in 189 Zilla Parishad Zones spread over 29 of the total 30 districts in which a total of 58,28,446 voters will exercise their franchise for which arrangements have been made for polling in 20,369 booths.
The elections would be held in 1506 gram panchayats, according to Election Commission secretary Rabindranath Sahu.
The Election Commission has directed the District Collectors to make necessary arrangements for installation of CCTV cameras in the sensitive booths.
The panchayat elections are being held for the posts of 853 Zilla Parishad Members, 6,802 Sarpanches, 6,801 Panchayat Samiti Members and 92,052 Ward Members, in which 2,60,92,507 voters will exercise their franchise.
The elections will be held in five phases on February 13, 15, 17, 19 and 21. Polling on each of these five days will start at 7 am and go on till 12 noon.