The State Election Commission, Odisha on Friday announced that polls to 109 urban local bodies will be held on March 24, amid strict adherence to COVID protocols. Votes will be counted on March 26, State Election Commissioner AP Padhi said. The polling will be held for 47 municipalities, 59 notified area councils (NACs) and municipal corporations of Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Berhampur, he said.
“Around 41 lakh people are eligible for voting. The Model Code of Conduct will come in force immediately and be effective till March 26, the date of counting of votes. The polls will be conducted for 1,763 wards in municipalities and NACs and 168 seats in the three municipal corporations,” the state election commissioner said. Padhi also said voters will have the NOTA option for the first time in the elections to civic bodies.
NOTA, or "None of the Above", is the option that enables an elector to officially register a vote of rejection for all candidates who are contesting. “Polling to the civic bodies will be held through Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and the MCC will be effective in areas where the elections will be conducted,” he said. The announcement of urban polls came a day after the completion of the five-phase panchayat elections on Thursday.
The SEC said candidates can file their nominations between March 2 and 7, and the scrutiny of such documents will be done on March 9. They can withdraw their nominations by March 14. Altogether 4,584 booths will be set up for the elections to all the ULBs. Each polling booth will have two EVMs, one for elections of councillors and another for chairpersons or mayors.
With PTI Inputs