Three Phase Panchayat Poll In Himachal Announced

Shimla: The state election commission today announced a three phase election to the 3032 Panchayati Raj Institutions in the state which are to be held on December 28, 30 and would spill into the new year to conclude on 1st January.

With announcing of the election dates, Dev Swaroop, state election commissioner said, “the model code of conduct has come into effect after notification of polls and it would remain effective till completion of election process on January 6 next year.

Nominations would be filed on December 10, 13 and 14, scrutiny would take place on December 15 and withdrawal of nomination would be allowed upto December 18.

Elections are to be held in 3195 of the existing 3243 panchayats, 75 of the existing 77 block Samiti’s and for 11 of the 12 zila parishads. Voters would have to cast five votes to elect the Panch, Panchayat president and Vice President, Block Samiti Members and Zila Parishad members.

Elections to remaining PRIs were not being held, as their term was not expiring along with other PRIs on January 25 and elections to the remaining 48 panchayats would be held in March next year.

“There is some dispute over the completion of tenure of some of the panchayats. So we have decided to conduct the elections in March,” he said.

As many as 3159 panchayat presidents and vice presidents, 19,159 panches, 1651 Block Samiti members and 240 Zila Parishad members are to be elected.

By amending the act 50 % of the seats have been reserved for women in PRIs with the exception that the post of Vice President has been exempted from reservation.

For the first time in history of PRI elections, the persons who had encroached upon government lands would be disqualified to contest elections and the respective returning officers would ask the candidates to make declaration in this regard.

The panchayat elections would be held on a non-party basis — which means that the candidates from any political party would not contest the election on party symbol and ticket.

Besides reservation for women 15 per cent, reservation for OBC and proportionate reservation for scheduled castes would also be made but for women, there would be reservation within reservation.

Counting of votes for Panches, and Gram Panchayat President and vice president would be held immediately after the election in all three phases while counting of votes for Block Samiti and Zila Parishad members would be taken up on January 3 and 4.

In about 19,000 polling booths would be set up for 46.11 lakh voters which included 23, 32,121 men and 22,78,881 women.

Elections are being held in three phases for logistic reasons as same staff would be used in all three phases and the strength of total staff employed would be about 50,000 including the police, Dev Swaroop said.

Replying to a question, Swaroop said that elections to 48 Municipal bodies would be announced soon as the term of different municipal bodies was expiring on different dates.

A government spokesman added that the electon programme would not apply to the Panchayats/Panchayat Samities/Zila Parishad of Keylong and Udaipur Sub-Division, all the Gram panchayat/Panchayat Samities/Zila Parishad and Zila Parishad only of Dev. Block, Kaza of Lahaul & Spiti District. All the Gram Panchayat/Panchayat Samities/Zila Parishad of Pangi Sub-Division of Chamba District and Gram Panchayat Jaban & Namhog of Dev. Block Anni and Gram Panchayart of Karjan & Soyal Dev.Block Naggar of Kullu District..

Photo Credit: Amit Kanwar

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