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Jharkhand: Four phase panchayat polls in May

Ranchi: The long delayed panchayat elections in Jharkhand will be held in four phases on May 14, 19, 24 and 27, state election commissioner D.K.Tiwari announced on Saturday paving way for the imposition of model code of conduct with immediate effect, except in areas under military cantonment zones and urban local bodies.

Counting of votes however will be done in three phases this time. The polling will be held across 24 districts for election of 536 zila parishad members, 4345 mukhiyas, and 53,479 panchayat members. The elections are due since December 2020 due to covid-19 pandemic. The ensuing election will be held on ballot paper.

As per the announcement, there will be 1,96,16,504 voters, of which 1,00,70,721 are male, female 95,45,702 and 81 others.Tiwari informed that there will be 33,627 polling booths in the state of them 17,698 are highly sensitive.

This time, reservation for other backward class (OBC) will not be applicable due to Supreme Court’s ruling on mandatory triple test rule for providing OBC reservations. Sources in the state rural development department said that the government has decided to do away with OBC reservation in elections this time and all such reserved seats for backward casts will be converted into open (general ) seats.As per the data provided by election commission, 9470 OBC seats will be open category now allowing anyone to contest.

“If that OBC seat is reserved for women, it will be open for all women and similarly for men,” said Tiwari. About the counting of votes, he said that it will be in three phases. “Counting for phase one will be on May 17, 22 for phase two while remaining two phases will have counting on May 31,” he said.Expenditure limits too have been sounded for different candidates.

“For gram panchayat member, maximum spend limit is Rs 14,000, 85,000 is for mukhiya, 71,000 for panchayat samiti member and 2.14 lakh for zila parishad member,” he said, adding that different cells have been formed across districts to ensure transparency and plug wrong doings.

“Also, we have directed police and excise department to form squad to curb illegal stocking, transportation and use of liquor during the elections. As far as law and order is concerned, plans are afoot to finalise deployments as per the requirements of the districts in consultation with state and local police,” he said.